Thursday night at EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan, WBA World flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (19-1, 11 KOs), fighting out of Osaka, successfully defended his title by stopping Juan Carlos Reveco (36-3, 19 KOs), from Las Heras, Mendoza, Argentina, at 1:57 of round 11.
It was second meeting between the two men. Their first fight was eight months earlier at Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, at which time Ioka was the challenger and Reveco wore the crown. That fight went to the scorecards after 12 rounds of action and Ioka won a close majority decision and the title.
Reveco and his team filed a formal protest. After careful consideration the WBA agreed to a rematch, but granted Ioka an optional defense against Roberto Domingo Sosa that he won by unanimous decision.
In last night’s fight, Ioka didn’t leave it to the judges.
From the opening session Ioka used his advantages in height and reach to keep the challenger at a distance.
In round two Reveco was the busier fighter, trying to corner the elusive Japanese champion and land combinations.
It was Ioka that threw furious combinations at Reveco with his back to the ropes in the fourth. Ioka’s body shots occasionally caught Reveco and the Argentine veteran winced in pain.
In the fifth through seventh rounds Reveco, who had defended his WBA flyweight belt on eight occasions prior to his loss to Ioka, turned aggressive and began stalking the champion who averted most of his attack with mobility and a smart defense. Two of the judges gave these three rounds to the Argentine.
In round eight Ioka stunned the onrushing ex-champ with a well-timed right to the head. That turned the tide in his favor, while Reveco showed signs of fatigue due to his too accelerated pace in the earlier rounds.
Ioka let his hands go in the ninth. He swarmed over his rival, pinning him to the ropes with a fusillade of punches upstairs and down. Commenting on round nine after the fight had ended, Ioka said, “I kept hitting Reveco with all my energy and, in my mind, asked the referee to stop it here and now.”
After Ioka dominated the tenth, his cornermen advised him not to be so reckless since they believed he was comfortably ahead on points (which turned out to be wrong). Kazuto, however, was eager to finish the man who refused to accept the loss in their first fight graciously and demanded a rematch.
In the fatal eleventh round, Ioka kept circling smoothly, making Reveco miss the moving target. When they mixed it up, Ioka connected with a double left hook to Reveco’s side and a right uppercut to the stomach. The game Argentine went down on all fours. He made it to his feet, barely, but couldn’t resume fighting. Referee Mark Nelson called a halt to the action at 1:57.
It was the first time Reveco had been stopped in his 11 years fighting as a pro.
“I’ve no excuse as I was knocked out,” he said. “I took a good shot at the solar plexus in an early round, and couldn’t recover from the punishment. Ioka improved a lot and became stronger than in our first encounter. He changed his style into more aggressiveness.”
Being more aggressive was exactly what Ioka intended.
“I strongly wanted to win by a knockout this time,” he said. “Yesterday there was a long dispute on the gloves to be used, and then I was determined to defeat him decisively. If possible, I wish to unify the flyweight belts by facing another champion. I believe I will be stronger from now.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.