Ioka defends WBA crown with knockout

Kyodo

Kazuto Ioka scored a decisive right to the body of Thai challenger Wisanu Kokietgym in the ninth round to successfully defend the WBA light flyweight title for the first time in a world doubleheader on Wednesday night.

Referee Mark Nelson ended the bout at 2 minutes, 51 seconds of the ninth round after Ioka sent the second-ranked Thai boxer to the canvas with a hard right at Bodymaker Colosseum.

Ioka improved to 12-0 with eight KOs. Wisanu slipped to 43-9 (11 KOs) with two draws.

The Japanese champion took control of the exchanges in the early rounds with his various combinations. “I didn’t feel that I damaged him in the last exchange but my punches must’ve been wearing him down. His guard is tight. I still have a way to go. I want to be known as a boxing legend.”

“He hit me as I stepped back and I wasn’t able to maintain my guard,” said Wisanu. “He knocked the wind out of me. His punches were quick and he had great combinations.”

Earlier, Japanese champion Ryo Miyazaki scored a fifth-round knockout of Mexican challenger Carlos Velarde to successfully defend the WBA minimumweight crown for the first time.

Both fighters came out swinging and the Velarde appeared to hurt the champion with some hard lefts to the body in the early going.

Referee Raul Caiz called an end to the fight 2:22 into the fifth when Miyazaki countered with a devastating left hook to the face to floor his seventh-ranked opponent. Judges had scored the bout evenly through the first four rounds.

Miyazaki improved to 19-0 (11 KOs) with three draws while Velarde fell to 22-3-1 (13 KOs).

“My first title defense was easier than when I captured the crown,” said Miyazaki. “I was determined that I wouldn’t be overmatched when we were in close exchanges and I won, so I’m satisfied with the result.”