WBO junior bantamweight champ Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15 KOs) stopped previously unbeaten Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9 KO) in the eighth round on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan. Ioka became Japan’s first four divisional world titlist in 2019 whilst Tanaka having won titles at 105, 108, and 112 was looking to replicate the feat at 115 but it wasn’t to be, not tonight.
The first four rounds was competitive, Tanaka the more aggressive of the two, pushing the pace while Ioka looked to counter and use his jab. The hook in particular was game changing, Ioka landed the shot in the fifth to drop Tanaka and the challenger found the canvas again with seconds remaining of the sixth.
The left hook was the star of the show, it was this shot that ended proceedings in the eighth as Ioka put the full stop to a brilliant performance, Tanaka saved by referee Michiaki Someya who halted the bout.
Former WBC flyweight ruler Daigo Higa (17-1-1, 17 KOs) captured the WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight title by knocking out defending titlist Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-9, 9 KOs), 117.5, at 0:45 of the fifth round. Higa impressively took all the rounds up to that point before a uppercut cut the lights on Kobayashi’s title defence.