Kazuto Ioka vs McWilliams Arroyo

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Kazuto Ioka vs McWilliams Arroyo
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Saturday, September 8, 2018
The Forum, Inglewood, California, USA
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Fan Cards: Kazuto Ioka vs McWilliams Arroyo

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Champion97's picture


Ioka isn't well known, but he should be, he is a 3 weight world champion, he won the WBC 105lb title when he beat Kittipong Jaigrajang, in 2011, at which point, he was only 6-0. Ioka defended his title on it's own twice, but then won the WBA as well. After winning two belts, Ioka moved up to 108, won the WBA, defended it 3 times, before then moving up to 112, taking on IBf champion Amnat Ruenroeng, losing, in what has been his only career loss. After losing to Ruenroeng, Ioka had a couple none title fights, rebuilding and probably adapting to the weight, and then took on WBA champion, Juan Carlos Reveco, Ioka beat Reveco by MD, became a three weight world champion. Ioka defended his WBA 112lb title 5 times, his last defence, in April 2017. Ioka vacated his title, and even retired from boxing, due to certain issues, but obviously now, he is returning. Ioka is 29, he is still young, and if he is ever going to return, he is right to make it now, but, he is coming off a 16 month layoff, and he is competing at a weight he has never been at before, just like Donnie Nietes, he was good at 105-112, but at 115, it may be too much of a weight jump, it was for Roman Gonzalez who historically competed at the same weights as Nietes and Ioka. Ioka is 5'5, he was very tall for a strawweight, he is tall for a flyweight, which means he might be able to carry more weight well because he is naturally bigger, but it is still no guarantee he will be good at 115. I think Ioka must have been a very big strawweight, he was 22 or 23 I think at that point, so he wasn't fully matured, and maybe he was never small enough as a mature fighter, for 105, and being 5'5 as well, maybe he is big enough to carry speed, power, strength up to 115. For Ioka, I think ring rust is a real issue, 16 months is a long break, and also, even if he is strong at 115, this is his first fight at the weight, and it will definitely take some adapting to.

Arroyo is good, he can punch, he was a very good amateur, but as a professional, although he is great at Latino level, and has been competitive at world level, has never been a world champion, but having said that, he has had two world title opportunities, and on one of those occasions, he came very close, dropped Ruenroeng, and against a flyweight Gonzalez, he fought a top 5 fighter, won maybe 2 or 3 rounds, went the full 12, made it a good fight. Arroyo is coming off a great win over Carlos Cuadras, that has to be the win of his career so far, it was only a 10 round bout, but he won a wide MD, 95-95 being controversial. I expected Arroyo to lose wide to Cuadras, but he proved me wrong.

Arroyo has not been active, in the last 3 years, he has had 2 fights, from September 2015, to now, he only fought against Gonzalez in April 2016, and coming off nearly two years out of the ring, he fought and beat Cuadras despite the inactivity, Arroyo shouldn't be too rusy in this fight, because he did 10 rounds against Cuadras, and that was only 6 months ago, he isn't inactive, coming off a layoff now, but he still will suffer from not being active, from having only one fight in 2016, early as well, and none in 2017. Ioka has been much more active overall, since September 2015, to now, he's had 5 fights, over double the amount Arroyo has had, he was much more active in 2016, and he fought in 2017, and that is relevant, but regardless of 2016 and the first half of 17, he has still not fought in 16 months, and Arroyo fought 6 months ago, nearly a year later, so in terms of current activity, who is coming off a layoff, who is more currently consistent, who is likely to be rusty in this fight, activity is definitely on Arroyo's side.

Neither of these guys are super flyweights really, Ioka has never been at 115, Arroyo never had in anything more than a 4 round fight until the Cuadras fight. The weight should benefit Arroyo if anything, because he competed at 115 for the first time against Cuadras, and has that fight's experience, Ioka doesn't, Arroyo has fought at 112, or 113 a few times, and although he isn't as tall, Arroyo, he has never fought at 108, he made 110 once, but that was his lightest, but Ioka has made 105, Arroyo was 24 when he turned pro, fighting at 112 or slightly over, but when Ioka was 24, he was fighting at 108. I think Arroyo is the bigger fighter, competed at the higher weight, he might not be naturally bigger, but he might be, and I think the weight works in his favour.

In terms of levels, experience, it is interesting, Ioka has never been in against any fighter like Gonzalez, and Arroyo has the amateur pedigree, but Arroyo has still never been a world champion, he is 32, old for a flyweight, 3 years older than Ioka, and not only is this a non-world champion against a 3 weight world champion, but Ioka has had 15 world title fights, won all but one of them, and when you comapre the level Ioka has been fighting at, isolating the top 2-3 opponents of Arroyo's career, you see the difference in levels, because Reveco, Alvarado, Sosa, they aren't Gonzalez, but apart from him, Ruenroeng, and a possibly under performing Cuadras, they are levels above Arroyo's opposition.

What is very interesting is that they have both lost to Ruenroeng, Ioka with just that one loss, Arroyo with a very early loss, Gonzalez, and Ruenroeng, but both lost by SD, which is interesting. Ruenroeng vs Arroyo was as close as it gets, 1 point margins, 2-1 in judges, Arroyo dropped Ruenroeng as well. Although it was an SD win for Ruenroeng, Ruenroeng fought Ioka in Ioka's home country, and it might have been an SD, but a judge had Ioka winning by one point, whilst another had it to Ruenroeng by 3, and the other, by an extremely wide margin of 11, I haven't seen the fight, so I don't know whether Ioka was gifted that split, and it was a one sided or at least clear win, or it was a close fight, and the judge who scored it lopsided was the idiot, but for sure, one of those judges was very wrong, because those two scores are two different to both be valid in the same fight. Either way, Ruenroeng vs Arroyo was anybody's, Ruenroeng vs Ioka seems more as if it might have been so very close.

I think Arroyo will win this fight. If Arroyo is ever going to be a world champion, at 32, it won't happen if he loses this fight, he might be more determined, given that Ioka has already been a world champion. Arroyo is a dangerous fighter, he can punch, he has that natural power, I think he hits a lot harder than Ioka, he is the more adapted super flyweight, and although he inactivity has been an issue for Arroyo, this is second fight this year, boxing is about timing, and however active Ioka was in previous years, it is him who is now, at the time this fight is happening, coming off the layoff.

This really is a tough call, tough one to predict, but I think Arroyo, and I think by late KO as well.