Saturday, March 25, 2023  |



Ioka gets off the canvas to stop Kiatniwat; Oguni unseats Guzman


Stamp Kiatniwat had waited more than a year to get his shot at Kazuto Ioka’s WBA flyweight title. Midway through the second round, after a sweeping right hand by the 18-year-old Thai floored Ioka, it appeared that a late entry for Upset of the Year was about to be filed Saturday at Shimazu Arena in Kyoto, Japan.

But just as youth is a virtue in sport as in life, so too is experience. And Ioka, a three-division world champion and the No. 1-rated flyweight by THE RING, banked on that experience, chopping down the fighter who is nine years his junior with body shots before finishing the fight at 2:51 of the seventh round.

Ioka was ahead 58-55 on two cards and 57-56 on the third when he scored a knockdown with a left hook to the pit of Kiatniwat’s stomach. Kiatniwat (15-1, 6 knockouts) made it back to his feet but was a spent force, unable to defend against the shots up top and collapsing again for the final time after three body shots dug into him.

The win over Kiatniwat, who had held the WBA interim title since July 2015, moves Ioka (21-1, 13 KOs) to his seventh straight win.

Oguni unseats Guzman for IBF junior featherweight title

Ioka isn’t the only Japanese fighter who can deliver a left hook to the body.

Yukinori Oguni survived the early power display of Jonathan Guzman before nearly sawing him in half with a left hook to the ribs in the third round, closing stronger and winning a unanimous decision and the IBF junior featherweight title.

Oguni (19-1-1, 7 KOs) earned scores of 115-112 on all three cards and could have won even wider when an 11th-round body shot was ruled an accidental low blow, despite the shot being right on the border.

The loss sends the Dominican knockout artist Guzman (22-1, 22 KOs) to his first loss and ends his reign just five months after he stopped Shingo Wake in 11 rounds in Japan to lift the title.