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Kazuto Ioka, Fernando ‘Puma’ Martinez Make Weight WBA/IBF Unification Bout in Tokyo

Kazuto Ioka (left) and Fernando ‘Puma’ Martinez meet in the weigh-in ahead of their WBA/IBF unification fight on July 7 in Tokyo. Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda

The top three junior bantamweights in the world will be in the house on Sunday.

Kazuto Ioka and Fernando ‘Puma’ Martinez both played big roles in the highly anticipated WBA/IBF unification bout. Ioka (31-2-1, 16 knockouts) weighed in at 114.6 pounds, while Argentina’s Martinez (16-0, 9 KOs) weighed in at 114.9 pounds.

The meeting of The Ring’s No. 1 and No. 2-rated junior bantamweights will take place on Sunday at the famous Kokukigan Arena in Tokyo.

Witnessing this event will be Ring/WBC 115-pound champion Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (20-0, 13 KOs). Undefeated Juan Francisco Estrada (44-4, 28 KOs) knocked out Juan Francisco Estrada (44-4, 28 KOs) in the seventh round on June 29 in Phoenix, Arizona. Rodriguez’s goal now is to face the winner of this Sunday’s event.

Ioka has won major titles at strawweight, junior flyweight, flyweight and junior bantamweight. He won the WBO 115-pound title in June 2019 and made six successful defenses.

Kazuto Ioka weighs in at 114.6 pounds (52 kg.) ahead of his July 7 WBA/IBF unification bout against Fernando ‘Puma’ Martinez. Ioka is a four-way pick but may be in the final year of his Hall of Fame-worthy career. Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda

The latter came in a majority draw with Joshua Franco in their WBA/WBO unification bout for December 2022. Ioka then left to accept an immediate rematch with Franco instead of a mandatory title defense against Junto Nakatani. This move led to his ruling the current position, as he stepped down from Franco’s position by decision last June 24.

Martinez won the IBF belt in February 2022 defeating longtime reigning champion Jerwin Ancajas. Their October 2022 rematch saw Martinez do it again. He then turned undefeated Jade Bornea with an eleventh-round stoppage last June 24 in Minneapolis, hours after Ioka dethroned Franco.

Fernando ‘Puma’ Martinez (16-0, 9 knockouts) makes weight for his IBF/WBA 115-pound unification fight vs Kazuto Ioka (31-2-1, 16 KOs) on July 7 in Tokyo. Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda

Ioka recently stopped Josber Perez in their seventh round last New Year’s Eve at the Ota-City General Gymnasium.

Martinez will fight on the road for the fifth time in a row and six of his last seven fights. He last fought in his home country of Argentina in December 2020. His last three fights have taken place in the US and the IBF title is at stake.

Sunday’s fight will air live on ABEMA-TV in Japan. The show is free to stream on the streaming site, but requires a VPN connection for those outside the region.

Follow @JakeNDaBox


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