By Joe Koizumi
The professional debut of amateur star Kazuto Ioka, formerly two-time world champ Hiroki Ioka’s nephew, drew some 8,000 spectators, more than the previous day’s world title doubleheader, at the same venue (Osaka Pefectural Gymnasium) in Osaka, Japan, on Sunday. Kazuto, 20, had acquired six national high school championships, and campaigned as amateur boxer in Tokyo Agricultural University. But his failure to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games had him decide to turn to the paid ranks. His amateur mark was a remarkable 95-10, 64 stoppages. Kazuto Ioka, a light-fly boy at 107.75, displayed excellent speed, reflexes and power in dispatching Thai top ranked flyweight contender Thongthailek Por Vorasing (10-10, 5 KOs), 108, at 0:26 of the third session in a scheduled six.
His uncle Hiroki became the first WBC 105-pound champ at the age of eighteen and nine months in 1987, and dethroned WBA 108-pound champ Myungwoo Yuh by an astoundingly upset decision in 1991. But he failed to win this third belt in the flyweight division thrice, losing to David Griman Mendez, Saen Sor Ploenchit and Jose Bonilla.
The young aspirant Kazuto said, “I wish to fulfill my uncle’s unfinished dream of dominating three-class belts.” When Hiroki, his manager/promoter, jokingly said “Impossible,” all the spectators burst in laughter. This reporter was greatly impressed by his talent, and his future may be very bright.
Promoter: Ioka Promotions.