WBO and WBA world champion in the super-flyweight category Kazuto Ioka will face Josber Perez after his team failed to reach an agreement with WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada. Will the Japanese defend his belts or will we see one final boxing sensation in 2023? Here is our Ioka vs Perez prediction.
Ioka vs Perez Prediction
Kazuto Ioka Preview
Kazuto Ioka is the first Japanese boxer to become a world champion in four weight categories. In 2011, he won the WBC mini-flyweight title with a TKO over Oleydong Sithsamerchai. In 2012, he went on to win the WBA (Regular) light-flyweight title with a TKO against Jose Alfredo Rodriguez. Three years later, he won his third belt – the WBA (Regular) flyweight title with a majority decision win over Juan Carlos Reveco.
His most recent achievements include the WBA and WBO super-flyweight belts. The native of Sakai won the WBO belt in June 2019 in a fight with Aston Palicte (technical knockout, tenth round) and the WBA title in June 2023 after his rematch with Joshua Franco (unanimous decision).
The 34-year-old Ioki has 30 wins (15 by knockout), two losses and one draw. The two defeats came in championship bouts in 2014 and 2018. He is ranked within the Top 3 in all official boxing rankings for the super-flyweights.
Originally, the plan was to face the WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada in a unification match but the two teams were unable to reach an agreement. According to Estrada, the financial conditions he was offered were not good enough to accept. As a result, he announced that he was moving to the higher weight class and Josber Perez accepted the match.
🇯🇵 Kazuto Ioka 井岡一翔 (30-2-1) & 🇻🇪 Josber Perez (20-3) both clear exactly 52.0kg/114.6lbs ahead of their 12 round main event Sunday for Ioka's WBA World super flyweight title live on Abema from Tokyo, Japan 🇯🇵 pic.twitter.com/bw5RgqDWIw
— Tim Boxeo (@TimBoxeo) December 30, 2023
Josber Perez Preview
Josber Perez is coming with three wins in a row in 2023. The last time the Venezuelan was defeated was in February 2020 in a fight for the WBA championship belt with Ukrainian Artem Dalakian.
In his most recent bout, Avalancha defeated his compatriot Jose Farfan (knockout). In total, the 28-year-old Latin American has 20 wins (18 by knockout). He has never been a world champion unlike his opponent here and this will be his biggest challenge to date.
When he last fought for a belt in 2020, he got very close to winning. The champion, Dalakian, had to put in a shift to get on the favorable side of the scorecards. Since then, Perez has certainly grown and this experience will be vital when he faces Ioka. But will it be enough? He has 20 wins in his career but faced formidable opponents only twice. In both cases, he lost by decision. We will never say that he is not talented but he is far from the level of the champion.
Kazuto Ioka vs Josber Perez Prediction: Ioka With Another Defense
Bookmakers consider Ioka to be the undisputed favorite of the upcoming fight and we agree for our Ioka vs Perez prediction. We see no other possible outcome here. Perez will be a worthy rival but we believe that he has not yet reached the level of Ioka. For your information, this will be the 12th time Ioka will fight on 31 December in his career. His participation in this annual event has become a tradition and he won 10 out of his 11 fights. This venue has become a second home to him as all of his last seven bouts played out there.
The champion has to overcome this challenge and he can start thinking of unification fights in 2024. In a recent interview, he said that as the defending champion, it is his duty to prove that he is on a completely different level, no matter the opponent. The only question is how he will achieve his victory. In his earlier days, he used to dominate his opponents and had a high KO percentage. His last five bouts, however, reached the judges and we expect the same here.
Especially if he finds his correct distance and rhythm, we doubt that Perez will even have a minimal chance to win here. We doubt the KO and we envision a clean win by decision after winning most, if not all rounds. He is a high-pressure fighter and a master of the jab.
• Ioka to win by decision
Image Credit: AP