The superior Kazuto Ioka defeated former pound-for-pound stat Donnie Nietes to retain his WBO super-flyweight title.
A four-weight ruler with titles from minimum to 115 pounds, Ioka beat Filipino master Nietes via unanimous decision.
Kazuto Ioka wins
Judges’ scores carded 120-108, 118-110, and 117-111 in favor of Ioka. The fight took place at Ota-City General Gym in Tokyo.
The pair had met in 2018, with Nietes coming off best via a split decision. This time, Ioka celebrated a famous victory on his path to the Hall of Fame.
Nietes began brightly, but it was the champion who soon gained control. In the end, it was a resounding win for the Japanese hero.
Ioka’s only other defeat came against Amnat Ruenroeng, meaning that in recent form, the 33-year-old is one of the best fighters in the world.
By eleven fights, he was a two-weight world champion. Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength.
The big question is how far up in weight Kazuto Ioka is willing to go before retirement.
After the loss, Nietes said: “I lost the fight on points. I felt that Ioka did not want to try and deliver a knockout win for his fans.
“He was just happy to win the fight on the scorecards. I was not able to put as much pressure on Ioka as I would have liked.
“I was waiting for Ioka to move in and throw his shots so that I could hit him with my big counters. But it didn’t happen often enough.
“I was defeated. But, without question, I can still fight for word titles again.
“There is no doubt in my mind that I can challenge once again. I see myself probably having one or two more fights at world level before I hang up my gloves inside the ring,”