A gripping world title contest on New Year’s Eve, Kazuto Ioka vs Jeyvier Cintron, sees the local man come through in Tokyo, while Jhunriel Ramonal achieves another upset
The traditional Japanese New Year’s Eve boxing event delivered as usual, with local legend Kazuto Ioka, the only four-weight world champion from his country, retaining the WBO super-flyweight belt for the first time at Ota-City General Gymnasium in his home city of Tokyo.
Plucky Puerto Rican challenger Jeyvier Cintron lacked experience coming in but was an undefeated southpaw who boasted significant advantages in height and reach. He certainly made things competitive in the first half, but Ioka came on strong in the later rounds, with intelligent pressure and a consistent body attack sapping the strength and will of his younger rival. Scores were 116-112 twice and 115-113.
Ioka, who dedicated the victory to his newborn baby son, may now target a unification match, possibly against IBF ruler Jerwin Ancajas, who needs a marquee showdown.
Also on the show, until-recently-unheralded Filipino Jhunriel Ramonal achieved his second explosive upset in a row, following up on stopping Shingo Wake in October by knocking out Yusaku Kuga, the Japanese champion, in just 84 seconds for the vacant OPBF super-bantam belt. A huge right hand topped off a barrage to finish matters and Ramonal, 17-8-6 (10), appears to have turned his 12-year career around.