Monday, March 04, 2024  |


Kazuto Ioka feels vindicated, looks to unify titles after defeating Donnie Nietes in rematch

Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Hugely talented Kazuto Ioka gained revenge over Donnie Nietes in their rematch at the Ota-City Gymnasium, Toyko, Japan, on July 13.

Ioka, who is ranked No. 2 by The Ring at 115-pounds, was understandably pleased with how things played out.

“I felt faster, stronger, and in better condition than the great Donnie Nietes,” Ioka (29-2, 15 knockouts) told The Ring. “The fight went as planned, I wanted to bring a style that would give Nietes the most problems. I wanted to stop him, but to his credit, his great defense, technique and experience, it was not possible.

“There is a reason Nietes has not lost in 18 years, he is a legend and I have so much respect for him. The difference was my 3 years and 7 months versus his 3 years and 7 months. I stayed busier and developed more in the junior bantamweight division. After that defeat, I started a new chapter in my career and I credit that loss which fueled me to be the best.”

The 33-year-old Japanese standout, who became a father for the second time on July 17, feels vindicated after the first fight.

“Yes, very much so,” he said. “I have two defeats in my career, so to get revenge on one of those is a great feeling.

“My wife gave birth to our second child, so I was determined to welcome the new-born as a champion.”

Ioka, who claimed titles in four-weight classes, was able to exchange pleasantries with his rival after their battle.

“We congratulated each other, we thanked each other and I wished him the best,” explained Ioka. “He has my highest respect as a person and a fighter.

“After the fight, I went home with my family. I took a week off, I have been very busy at home. Training will resume after things settle down.”

And when he returns, Ioka hopes to secure a fight with a rival champion or big name.

“I want to fight a unification bout,” he said. “I am hoping for the winner of the IBF title match [Fernando Martinez vs. Jerwin Ancajas] or, of course, I’ve always wanted to fight Juan [Francisco] Estrada and the legendary Roman Gonzalez.”



Kazuto Ioka gets revenge over Donnie Nietes, retains WBO 115-pound title – The Ring (

Andrew Moloney targets Kazuto Ioka showdown for late 2022 – The Ring (

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter@AnsonWainwright