Ioka feels ‘relieved’ after title bout

OSAKA (Kyodo) Newly crowned WBC minimumweight champion Kazuto Ioka expressed relief Saturday, a day after setting the Japanese record for winning a world title in the fewest number of fights — seven.

“When I woke up this morning, I felt relieved to have won the match,” Ioka said at a news conference. “Last night after the bout, I was praised by my father for the first time for the way I fought. He said I deserve 100 points out of 100.”

Ioka stopped Thailand’s Oleydong Sithsamerchai, who had been undefeated in 40 career bouts, with a left to the body 1 minute, 7 seconds into the fifth round at Kobe World Memorial Hall.

The 21-year-old, who usually fights in the heavier light flyweight division, has a goal of winning his second world title in a different weight class, but has decided not to relinquish the WBC minimumweight belt anytime soon.