Ioka downs Rodriguez in six
Japanese boxer Kazuto Ioka won his 11th consecutive fight when he beat Jose Rodriguez to claim the vacant WBA light flyweight title on Monday.
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It took Ioka, who knocked his Mexican opponent out three times during the bout, just six rounds to secure what was ultimately a dominant win to earn him a second title in just 11 fights - a new record in Japanese boxing.
Ioka won his first title - the WBC 105-pound strawweight title - in 2011, just two years after he had turned pro. He beat Oleydong Sithsamerchai with a one-punch knockout to win that fight.
While it took Ioka a little longer to secure victory in the fight against Rodriguez, he made his intentions quite clear from the outset. Midway through that session Ioka landed two solid blows on Rodriguez, sending him to the canvas early.
However, any fears that the fight would last a mere one round were eliminated when Rodriguez picked himself up and continued to be swift and mobile in the ring.
However, the second and third rounds were a struggle for the Mexican, who had to sustain a series of left jabs and hooks from the 23-year-old Japanese fighter.
There was a need for a strategic change, which was affected in the fourth round, when Rodriguez opted to throw in a series of counter-punches everytime Ioka landed a blow.
The results were immediate with two of the three judges giving that round to Rodriguez.
However, the success was short-lived, as Ioka landed a left-hand combination which sent Rodriguez down to the canvas for the second time. These blows were followed by a right upper-cut to the jaw and a right hook to the face, which brought Rodriguez down again.
The referee saw no merit in allowing the fight to continue and Ioka walked away with the title.
Meanwhile two other Japanese fighters Ryo Miyazaki and Takashi Uchiyama added to national pride by winning their respective WBA fights.
Miyazaki defeated Pornsawan Porpramook to win the vacant WBA minimum weight title and Uchiyama beat Bryan Vasquez to lift the WBA super-featherweight title, also on Monday.
Miyazaki now extends his record to 18 wins in his 21 fights, which he is tremendously proud of.
"It's been my dream to become the world champion since I started boxing. I'm really happy that I made it. My fans cheered me up and I thought I shouldn't give up. I'm determined to be stronger," said Miyazaki.
Uchiyama, who won by way of a technical knockout in the eighth round was equally proud of his achievement. "My opponent had never lost a match before and never suffered a knock down, so I really wanted to win the match in a good style," said Uchiyama, 33.
This was Uchiyama's sixth defence of the title, which he wrested from Juan Carlos Salgado of Mexico in January 2010, maintaining his unbeaten record at 19 wins, including 16 KOs and one draw.