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20 JULY 2018

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Ioka Defends Title; Sitthiprasert Goes Distance

Kazuto Ioka ties Gushiken's fourteen title fight victories.
Kazuto Ioka ties Gushiken's fourteen title fight victories.

By Derek Bonnett


Kazuto Ioka placed his WBA flyweight title on the line at EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan against Noknoi Sitthiprasert in a twelve round contest. Ioka, nephew of the great Hiroki Ioka, set a workman-like pace moving his shots to the body and head of his challenger. What started as taps to the body with a jab evolved into Ioka’s preferred combo of a sinking hook to the body followed by an uppercut through the guard of the Thai-boxer. Sitthiprasert, 30, tried to establish his jab and land basic one-twos, but he found Ioka’s defense tighter than usual and struggled with range against his longer foe. Ioka had his own troubles keeping his punches in fair territory on the compact Sitthiprasert and was deducted one point for a blow that actually landed cleanly in round three. However, Ioka would land low throughout the bout without much further recognition. Ioka, 28, maintained command of the bout throughout the twelve rounds, but the Thai-challenger had his moments when he built up enough confidence to fire in combination. He had a strong sixth round, which was the only frame he claimed on the unofficial SecondsOut card. Ioka stepped up his pace in round ten and looked to be chipping away from a stoppage, but Sitthiprasert showed a stalwart chin and kept his footing in spite of a soggy ring. Ioka looked to step down a notch in round twelve and accept his fate as a unanimous decision winner. Officially, Ioka kept his belt for the fifth time in his current reign by scores of 117-110 twice and 116-111. SecondsOut saw the contest wider at 118-109.


Ioka, a three-division titlist hailing from Osaka, lifted his ledger to 22-1-0 (13). The victory allowed the Japanese world champion to tie fellow countryman Yoko Gushiken’s fourteen world title fight victories. Sitthiprasert, traveling from Bangkok, fell to 62-5-0 (38), seeing his sixty-one bout win-streak snapped.

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