Four years after a controversial loss to Donnie Nietes, Kazuto Ioka got his revenge Wednesday with a unanimous-decision win in the rematch to retain the WBO super flyweight title.
The Japanese star received scores of 118-110, 120-108 and 117-111 from the judges to improve to 29-2.
Tim Boxeo @TimBoxeo
33yr old Kazuto Ioka 井岡一翔 (29-2) dominates 40yr old Donnie Nietes (43-2-6) in their rematch from Tokyo to defend his WBO super flyweight title. Neither fighter was ever in danger - Ioka controlled the ring and controlled the fight. Official scores 118-110, 120-108 & 117-111 <a href="https://t.co/Ol4UhcMlMC">pic.twitter.com/Ol4UhcMlMC</a>
The loss snapped Nietes' 37-fight unbeaten streak dating back to September 2004. He beat Ioka by split decision to win the vacant WBO junior bantamweight championship on Dec. 31, 2018.
Jake Donovan @JakeNDaBox
Twelve rounds done. Ioka barely looks like he was in a fight. Nietes well aware of being dealt his first loss in EIGHTEEN years - unbeaten in 37 fights and four weight divisions over that stretch. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IokaNietes2?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IokaNietes2</a>
Nietes (43-2-6), who just turned 40 in May, looked outclassed throughout the fight. He never looked to be in danger of being dropped, but Ioka's consistent striking turned his face into a crimson mask in the 10th round when he suffered a cut above his eye.
Solid performance there from Ioka who successfully defends his WBO 115lb title, beating Donnie Nietes by UD in their rematch. Nietes had some success early on and was able to counter Ioka in small spots but overall Ioka just able to outclass Nietes at this point of his career.
The ninth round was the closest Nietes came to making things close. He scored a big right uppercut that briefly stunned Ioka, but the champion regained his composure and went back to work methodically beating down the challenger.
Ioka's primary focus in the bout seemed to be attacking Nietes' body. He never got aggressive in trying for a knockout. The 33-year-old peppered Nietes with jabs throughout and scored with a right hook in the 10th round that cut his opponent above the left eye.
It will be interesting to see where Nietes goes from here. The Philippines native had a two-year layoff before returning to the ring against Pablo Carillo in April 2021. He won that bout and fought Norbelto Jimenez to a draw on Dec. 11.
The win marks Ioka's fifth successful defense of the WBO super flyweight belt. He won it from Aston Palicte with a TKO in June 2019. Four of his five defenses have been unanimous-decision victories. He also scored a TKO win over Kosei Tanaka.
Ioka could potentially pursue a bout with WBC super flyweight champion Jesse Rodriguez. The 22-year-old from Texas is scheduled to defend his title against Israel Gonzalez on Sept. 17 as part of the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Gennadiy Golovkin trilogy fight. Roman Gonzalez could also be an option.