Kazuto Ioka discusses recent police investigation, livid with Japanese Boxing Commission
The morning of April 6 started like any other for Kazuto Ioka. The WBO junior bantamweight titleholder had enjoyed breakfast with his wife and young son and was about to head to the gym for a morning workout.
Suddenly and without warning there was a knock at the door that had huge ramifications for him and his family.
“At first, neither I nor my wife could figure out what happened or what it was all about,” Ioka told The Ring. “My wife was very scared and frightened as she was surrounded by nearly 10 police officers at the lobby of our condominium.
“When I heard her call for me, I went to the entrance and saw there were many police officers, so I was very shocked. A police officer told me that a cannabis component was detected in the results of a prior doping test [after the Kosei Tanaka win in December] and told me they had a search warrant to investigate our home.”
Ioka, who is rated No. 3 by The Ring at 115 pounds, was taken aback.
“From the moment all this was happening, I was firmly convinced and believed I was innocent,” said the four-weight world titleholder. “But because this was my first experience with the police, I followed their instructions.
“I was interrogated for five-six hours. I also voluntarily took a urine test during this time. From the beginning of the search warrant to the end of the interrogation, I was treated like a criminal by the police.”
Ioka is particularly disappointed in the way things were handled by the habitually efficient JBC (Japan Boxing Commission), who didn’t look to help him.
“I cannot forgive Japan Boxing Commission’s mishandling and seemingly maliciousness actions towards me,” said a clearly disgruntled Ioka. “I felt as though they ended my fighting career, my family’s [life] and my life.”
While Ioka has since been exonerated, he hasn’t received a formal apology from the JBC and the whole incident has left a lasting effect on him and his family.
“My innocence was proven, but the damage done to my family and I [has] not healed,” he said. “We are deeply hurting. Also, my fans and the public are very skeptical of me and still question my integrity.
“JBC has published an apology on their website. It feels strange to receive an apology in writing in regard to this. I have not received a direct personal apology at this time. My soul and body feel weakened.”
The 32-year-old Ioka, who is tabbed to face mandatory challenger Francisco Rodriguez Jr. in the coming months, is adamant that changes need to be implanted inside the JBC: “To prevent this from happening to any fighter, I would like to see a reorganization of the entire JBC organization.”
The pound-for-pound star’s management group, TLAROCK Entertainment, are steadfast in their support of Ioka and put forth several issues that must be addressed.
“We would like them to restore his honor in good faith,” said Yusuke Ninomiya of TLAROCK Entertainment. “We have sent a written request to the JBC executive members to recognize the responsibilities of the JBC to reform the organization: Pursue and clarify the cause of personal information leaked to the media; establish Doping Regulations by complying with the international standards; make a sincere apology to Kazuto Ioka and Kosei Tanaka. We seek for JBC to take measures to re-establish the honor and names of both fighters.”
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