Vacant WBO junior bantamweight World title on the line Wednesday in Japan
PALICTE 115 lbs., IOKA 115 lbs.
(L-R) – Aston Palicte & Kazuto Ioka
(Pictures courtesy of RJJ Boxing)
LAS VEGAS (June 18, 2019) – The official weigh in was held today for tomorrow’s (Wednesday, June 19) first world championship boxing match ever streamed live on UFC Fight Pass®, between the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) top two-ranked junior bantamweight contenders, “Mighty” Aston Palicte and Kazuto Ioka, who will square off for the vacant WBO World title.
Palicte and Ioka both weigh in at the 115-pound maximum.
Palicte’s promoter, Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions, owns the worldwide live streaming rights outside of Japan. Palicte vs. Ioka, co-promoted by RJJ Boxing and Reason Taki Promotions, will be streamed live, starting at 8 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. PT, from Makuhari Messe in Chiba City, Chiba, Japan.
WBO No. 1-ranked contender Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KOs), fighting out of the Philippines, takes on four-time three-division world champion Ioka (23-2, 13 KOs), who will be fighting at home, in the 12-round main event.
The 28-year-old Palicte (pictured above) knocked out previously unbeaten Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez, this past January 31st in the second round of their WBO title eliminator. Palicte become the mandatory challenger for then WBO champion and fellow Filipino, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, who subsequently relinquished his title belt rather than accept a Palicte rematch to pursue more lucrative fights than a rematch with his countryman.
Nietes and Palicte had fought to a controversial 12-round draw last September for the then vacant WBO junior bantamweight world title. Nietes, ironically, captured the title last December 31st in Macao, China, winning a controversial 12-round split decision over Ioka.
The No. 2-rated Ioka, 30, has a decisive experience advantage over the younger, stronger Palicte. He has a 13-2 (3 KOs) record in world title fights and Ioka is on a mission to become the first Japanese boxer to be world champion in four different divisions. The only other members of this elite Nippon club are Hozumi Hagegawa, Koki Kameda, Akira Yaegashi and Naoko Fuijioka, the lone female in the group.
“I’m very appreciative of this opportunity to fight or the WBO belt again,” Ioka said from training camp. “Japan has a long history of boxing and for me, personally, it (4-division world champion) would be my highest goal to reach.
“Aston Palicte is a very good, tough fighter. I don’t really see any weaknesses, but I think his strength is his ability to be physical and fight aggressively.”
A triumph over Ioka will allow Palicte to join an elite club of Filipino world boxing champions, past and present, such as Nietes, Manny Pacquiao, Pancho Villa, Flash Elorde, and Nonito Donaire.