WBC champ Ioka wins by two points
Kazuto Ioka retained his WBC strawweight title when he beat Akira Yaegashi in Osaka, Japan, on Wednesday.
Making the third defence of his belt, Ioka won on points – 115-114 on the card of an American judge and 115-113 on the cards of judges from Japan and Thailand.
Yaegashi, the WBA minimumweight champion, fought with a swollen left eyelid from the second round but gave Ioka a run for his money. After four rounds the scores were 38-38 on each of the cards.
The champion lauded his opponent after the bout. "Yaegashi is really a strong fighter. I couldn't have beaten him without the support of my fans on my home ground," said Ioka, 23.
"Since I heard he would be my next opponent, I was under heavy pressure and I felt anxious. I felt pressure whenever I was outside the ring, but now I have cleared a big hurdle. This is merely a passage in my career," he added.
After eight rounds, Ioka was 2-1 ahead. He drew blood from Yaegashi's nose in the 11th round and retained his lead.
Ioka won the title when he defeated Oleydong Sithsamerchai of Thailand in February last year.
He improved his record to 10 wins, including six knockouts, and no defeats. Yaegashi’s record now stands at 15 wins, including eight KOs, and three defeats.