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Ioka renounces WBC belt

Photo: Joe Koizumi

By Joe Koizumi

Having unified world 105-pound belts ten days ago, unbeaten Kazuto Ioka, a 23-year-old Japanese star, announced on Friday to renounce the WBC belt by keeping only the WBA throne. Ioka pounded out a close but unanimous decision (115-114 and 115-113 twice) over then WBA titleholder Akira Yaegashi in his home turf Osaka on June 20. Prior to the unification bout the WBC had sent a logical letter to both champions to have the winner relinquish either of the belts to pave the way for official challengers to pursue the championship within ten days thereafter. Both Ioka and Yaegashi had been at the mandatory stage of their defenses, and it was apparently impossible that the unified champ to make the mandatory defense with different official challengers of the organizations—without having a double body. Ioka is willing to outgrow the minimumweight category and move up to the 108-pound division in the near future.

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