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Kazuto Ioka and Donnie Nietes are ready to run it back.
The pair of four-division titlists both made weight for their WBO junior bantamweight title fight, which takes place Wednesday evening (local time) at Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
Ioka weighed 114.86 pounds (52.1 kg) for the rematch, making the mark on the second try after initially weighing 40 grams over the limit during his first attempt less than five minutes prior. Nietes checked in at a fight ready 114.5 pounds (51.9 kg) in a bid to regain the title he previously claimed in a New Year’s Eve 2018 split decision win over Ioka.
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The much-awaited rematch between four-division world champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and World Boxing Organization (WBO) world super flyweight king Kazuto Ioka is officially set after both hurdled the official weigh-in on Tuesday at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
Their rematch is scheduled on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at the Ota City General Gymnasium wherein Nietes, the former owner of the WBO world super flyweight title hoped to retake the crown against an opponent he already defeated in 2018.
The 40-year-old Nietes weighed in at 114.5 pounds while the 33-year-old Ioka tipped the scales at 114.86lbs.
Nietes defeated Ioka on New Year’s Eve 2018 at the Cotai Arena in Macao, China via split decision.
Nietes’ victory earned him his fourth world title, adding a feather to his already decorated cap as the longest-reigning Filipino boxing world champion.
The Filipino boxing nation’s eyes are clearly set on the fight as the country pins its hopes on Nietes to end the Philippines’ world title drought following the painful split-decision loss of Mark Magsayo to Mexican Rey Vargas in their WBC world featherweight tussle last Sunday in Texas.
Nietes holds a record of 43 wins with 23 knockouts, 1 defeat and 6 draws, while Ioka has 28 wins with 2 defeats and 15 knockouts.
Tomorrow’s rematch against Ioka will be Nietes’ first fight since December when he fought Norbelto Jimenez for the WBO international super flyweight title which ended in a draw in Dubai, UAE.
Meanwhile, Ioka’s most recent bout was also last December against fellow Japanese Ryoji Fukunaga where he won by unanimous decision.
For Nietes’ promoter, Richard Schaefer of Probellum, Nietes is considered a special boxer who can unify the titles in his division despite his age.
In a press statement, Schaefer, who also promotes four-division world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. said that once Nietes recaptures the WBO world title tomorrow, the latter would definitely chase unification bouts with other world champions.
It means Nietes would go after Juan Francisco Estrada and Jesse Rodriguez.
“Boxing is like an addiction and it’s very difficult for fighters to let go,” Schaefer said.
“And when you do become world champion again at age 40, who is going to stop you? Who is going to tell you that you cannot go and try to pursue a unification fight? For a long time, the lower-weight classes were neglected but now that has changed, and today, they are extremely popular with fight fans and networks. It’s the right time to be in those weight classes and I would not be surprised if Donnie, once he’s world champion again, says: ‘Hey, I might as well add a few more titles.’” /rcg