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TTR RANKED FIGHTERS IN ACTION- December 31- Ioka Stops Tanaka
Pictured: Kazuto Ioka

Earlier today, in Tokyo, Japan, WBO World junior bantamweight champion Kazuto Ioka, TTR's #3 ranked contender for the division's lineal title currently held by Juan Francisco Estrada, stopped WBO #1 ranked Kosei Tanaka. Tanaka had been ranked #1 at 112 by TTR until he announced his intention to campaign as a junior bantamweight and voluntarily relinquished the WBO World flyweight title.

The much anticipated showdown between the 31-year-old Ioka, a four-divisional champion, and three-divisional champ Tanaka, 25, began with an exciting opening round in which both fighters scored well. Ioka appeared earn a 10-9 score by landing to the body and the head near the round's completion.

Tanaka had the edge in rounds two and three with both having their moments in the fourth frame.

Ioka surged ahead in round five, flooring the unbeaten challenger with a left hook. Just as Tanaka started to come back in the sixth stanza, the defending champion decked him again, this time with a right.

Tanaka attempted to unleash a body attack in round seven but was not very successful. Ioka fought from the outside, negating Tanaka's tactics.

A left hook ended matters in round 8. The referee saw enough and saved the bloodied and bruised Tanaka from further punishment.

Ioka is now 17-2 in world title bouts and 8-2 against fellow world champions. Tanaka dropped to 9-1 in world title contests with a 5-1 mark against fellow world champs.

In the card's semi-final, a bout between fighters not currently ranked by TTR which may impact TTR's rankings, former WBC World flyweight champion Daigo Higa won the WBO Asia Pacific bantameight title by knocking out defending champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi in the fifth round.

WBO World Junior Bantamweight Title-
Champion Kazuto Ioka (TTR #3, Transnational Boxing Rankings Board #3, The Ring #3; 26-2, 15 KOs)
TKO-8 1:35
Kosei Tanaka (WBO #1 at 115; Transnational Boxing Rankings Board #1, The Ring #1- both at 112; 15-1, 9 KOs)
- Both boxers were fighting for the first time since December 31, 2019 when Ioka unanimously outpointed Jeyvier Cintron and Tanaka knocked out Wulan Tuolehazi.
- Ioka floored Tanaka in round 5 and in round 6 and was leading by the scores of 69-62, 68-63, and 68-63 when the bout was mercifully stopped.

WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight Title-
Daigo Higa (WBA #10, WBC #15; 17-1-1, 17 KOs)
KO-5 0:45
Champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (IBF #9, WBO #14, WBC #23; 16-9, 9 KOs)
- This was Kobayashi's first bout since his one-sided UD 12 win over Ki Chang Go on December 22, 2019.
- Higa knocked Kobayashi out with a perfectly-timed uppercut. The former WBC World flyweight champion improved to 2-0-1 with 2 wins by knockout in 2020.
Article By: Ken Pollitt