Osaka Showdown Looms

By Ted Sares on January 17, 2014
Osaka Showdown Looms
I'd willingly spend $60 to watch Kazuto Ioka fight Roman “El Chocolatito” Gonzalez.

Fighting mostly in Osaka, the 24-year-old Kazuto Ioka has won eight championship fights in a row—many with spectacular knockouts…

“Ioka is a good fighter, but when we collide he will face someone who is better.”—Roman “El Chocolito” Gonzalez

“A Gonzalez-Ioka match-up would be both explosive and tactically compelling, but I can’t imagine Ioka holding up for the entire fight.”—Charles Farrell

If you know who these two exciting mini-bombers are, then you just might be a serious boxing fan. Fact is, fans will pay $60 to see Mayweather fight Khan, but I’d willingly spend that amount to watch Ioka or Gonzalez, and especially against each other.

Fighting mostly in Osaka, the 24-year-old Kazuto (14-0) has won eight championship fights in a row—many with spectacular knockouts that have dazzled his fans. Now a two-division champion, Ioka blends solid defense with precision punching and KO power (upstairs and downstairs) in both hands. This thrill merchant is clearly the best fighter in the world with just 14 professional bouts, and he one of the most exciting pugilists fighting today.

Kazuto schooled undefeated Nicaraguan Felix Alvarado in his last outing in late December 2013 despite the Martian-like scoring of Judge Sergio Caiz, but there is another undefeated Nicaraguan who would be a far more daunting foe; namely Roman Gonzalez (37-0 with 31 KOs). Roman is no stranger to Japan having fought there five times; in fact, he has often fought outside Nicaragua.

If the best truly fight the best, it is now time to start talking up a fight between “El Chocolatito,” the current WBA light flyweight champion and former WBA minimumweight champion, and Kazuto, the current WBA super light flyweight champion and former WBC minimumweight champion.

Look for the dangerous and avoided Gonzalez (who has been in 10 successful title bouts) to fight and win in Japan sometime in March and stir up even more interest for a showdown with Ioka. WBC flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi would be the perfect benchmark opponent, but he wants no part of Roman. That’s a pity because Ioka beat Yaegashi in June 2102 in an extremely close UD.

Roman Gonzalez vs. Kazuto Ioka, who wins? Gonzalez is special; like a mini Mike Tyson with similar movement who skillfully set ups his considerable power. At this point, even If the fight is made and is held in Japan, I don’t believe it is winnable for Ioka because I question whether he could handle Gonzalez’s power?

Let’s find out in 2014.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

井岡一翔 2階級制覇!WBAライトフライ級王座決定戦 リングサイド映像



Roman Gonzalez vs Juan Francisco Estrada, 17 noviembre 2012. Los Angeles, California, USA.



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  1. Ted 08:01am, 01/21/2014

    Matt, I think he will move up. The Japanese model is like the others. Make it while you can and he has been doing just that, but he will need to fight Roman in Las Vegas or at least Tokyo. Osaka does not equal a monster payday.

  2. Ted 07:58am, 01/21/2014

    SEANPASBON:, I think I did one for another site a while back. I’ll check it out.

  3. Ted 07:52am, 01/21/2014

    seanpasbon, NO. THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO. THE SCENE TODAY IS ALL ABOUT WOMEN’S BOXING, SOCCER, SPEED SKATING, BASEBALL—BUT MEN’S BOXING HAS DIMINISHED BY 85%. THE ECONOMIC REVIVAL HAS MUCH TO DO WITH THIS.

  4. nicolas 09:04pm, 01/20/2014

    SEANPASBON: It would be an intersting article about boing in South Korea, once a country that was the leading one in that sport in Asia, but now does not have a single fighter in any of the major publications of boinxg, nor many in boxing organizations.

  5. Matt McGrain 03:13pm, 01/20/2014

    Won’t happen i’m afraid, unless Ioka has decided to move up.  Gonzalez has resigned his light-flyweight belt a week ago to campaign up at 112lbs.  Would have been good though.

  6. seanpasbon 11:13pm, 01/19/2014

    Ted, do you still live in Korea? And do you know anything about the boxing scene in S.Korea? Two thumbs up for this!

  7. Ted 05:17pm, 01/18/2014

    I’ve been tracking Ioka since his third fight.

  8. Ted 05:16pm, 01/18/2014

    Prov, リングイド映像

  9. Ted 05:15pm, 01/18/2014

    Gajjers, his amateur credentials are amazing. Like the Eastern Euro’s

  10. Tex Hassler 05:15pm, 01/18/2014

    I am looking forward to see who the winner is!

  11. John 08:00am, 01/18/2014

    井岡一翔 2階級制覇!WBAライトフライ級王座決定戦 リングサイド映像

  12. Don from Prov 07:01am, 01/18/2014

    I must not be a real boxing fan any longer because the names = ??


    I’d love it if some American network featured them but I won’t go searching the Internet as I hate to watch fights on this screen, so call me non-fan.

  13. Gajjers 12:35am, 01/18/2014

    Wow, only 14 fights & he’s already won 8 (world, I presume) championship fights! Talk about fast-tracking! Ted, which does he look more like - a champion with 7 successful defenses, or a fighter with only 14 fights? If it’s the latter, I’d expect Gonzalez to have the advantage, since he apparently (judging by his record) has punching power too . Either way, I’m intrigued - the really small fighters (105 - 108lbs?) don’t get much press in the west, I guess. Thanks for the eye-opener, I’ll definitely watch that space…

  14. nicolas 06:08pm, 01/17/2014

    I would really be shocked if this fight happens. Look what happened in the bantamweight division. Koki Kameda was supposed to fight Anselmo Moreno, but then Kameda, perhaps his management all of a sudden give up that ‘regular title’ and go down to Super flyweight. I would suggest that there is a lot about cornering a market. If Ioka were to lose to Gonzalez, which most think he would, they then lose Ioka’s standing, his marketability. Certainly if we did not have all these champions in every weight division, this could be avoided, but even now the WBA in there infinite wisdom to make money have a Super champ, a Regular champ, and an interim champ. I am sure that when Hasagawa fought Fernando Montiel in the bantamweights a few years back, and Hasagawa lost, there were probably some real anger around that management decision to let that fight happen. Ted, true boxing fans want to see this fight happen, but I would ask you, are they clamoring for this fight in Japan? I have to think not.

  15. Ted 05:50pm, 01/17/2014

    I love the little guys as well.

  16. Koolz 01:43pm, 01/17/2014

    I’ll be seeing this one!  I have been missing quite a few fights but I catch them on allthebestfights.
    Ioka is going to surprise again!
    I honestly always see Mexican boxers come and fight Japanese fighters and get there butts handed to them.
    Ioka is the underdog here in this own country but I think he is going to deliver again.

  17. Meinhard Schmidt 01:38pm, 01/17/2014

    Lets really hope that fight comes off. Only problem i have i want neither to lose. both are special and everything i look for in a boxing champ. as someone who likes action, courage, technical perfection and speed one simply has to love the little guys!

  18. Ted 12:34pm, 01/17/2014

    Ha. I’ve been following Asian boxing ever since I lived in South Korea in the late 80’s.

  19. dollarbond 10:29am, 01/17/2014

    How the hell do you know these guys?

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