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WBA flyweight champ Ioka to make title defense against Nicaraguan Lara

Kyodo

WBA flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka will make his third title defense on July 20, when he will face seventh-ranked Keyvin Lara, Ioka’s gym announced Friday.

The 27-year-old Ioka has a 19-1 record with 11 knockouts and is eyeing a title-unification bout — depending on how he fares against Lara.

But the 21-year-old Nicaraguan, a training partner of compatriot and WBC champ Roman Gonzalez, is likely to provide a stern test for Ioka. Lara has rattled off 18 straight wins, including six knockouts, after a defeat and a draw.

“As I always have, I’ll go in to the match highly motivated. I can’t wait for the bout,” Ioka said. “I want to get the title defense out of my way and fight a big match.”

Ioka’s father and gym president Kazunori said he is aware of the Nicaraguan’s capability.

“He (Lara) is rough but strong. He is a worthy opponent.”

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