Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Kazuto Ioka v Wisanu Kokietgym

Rising Japanese star Kazuto Ioka (12-0, 8) made the first successful defense of his WBA Light Flyweight title as he further enhanced his reputation as one of the best body punchers in the sport today.

Although Thai challenger Wisanu Kokietgym (43-9-2, 13) managed to give Ioka some problems it often appeared as if he lacked the power to really trouble the champion who slowly worked his way in to the bout behind his jab.

Sadly the fight started really slowly with Ioka using his jab mainly to control the distance with little real action of note in the early rounds. Although Ioka did try to up the pace a little in round 3 it appeared that he was more than happy to do things at a leisurely pace against a game Thai who simply couldn't cope with Ioka's movement or hand speed.

Despite looking in control Ioka was put under a little bit of pressure in round 4 as Kokietgym forced him on to the back foot and tried to come back at the champion. Sadly for the challenger Ioka still seemed to do just enough to keep a whitewash on the score cards. What little success the challenger had in round 4 was seriously over-shadowed by Ioka have a fantastic round 5 in which he managed to walk Kokietgym to the ropes and landed numerous shots, though failed to ever stagger the challenger who was looking a lot tougher than his record would have you believe (he had suffered 6 stoppages in his previous 8 losses).

Round 6 was closer than many of the others and round 7 was certainly one of, if not the, stand out round for the challenger who managed to give just as good as he got, unfortunately though it still appeared as if Ioka was boxing well within himself. This same restrained mindset of the champion was evident in round 8 as neither fighter did much at all for the opening minute, though Ioka seemed to unshackle himself and went looking for the challenger later in the round.

Having managed to get some rounds under his belt Ioka put his foot on the gas in round 9 and started to land bigger shots on a challenger who, whilst still throwing back, looked to be taking more and more shots. It was whilst Ioka was forcing the pressure that he managed to land a beautiful 3 punch combination that started and ended with right hands to the body, the second of which sent Kokietgym down for the count and with a glassy eyed look in his eyes.

With a prospective super fight against Roman Gonzalez on the horizon it makes sense that Ioka wanted to get some rounds under his belt, especially at Light Flyweight where his previous bout went just 6 rounds. At this stage however it's hard to see Ioka defeating the Nicaraguan wrecking ball.

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