Boxing Results: Kosei Tanaka Stopped in the 8th Round, Losing Bid to Become Fastest Four Division Champion
By Larry Torres: Rising boxing star from Japan, Kosei Tanaka (15-1 9 KOs) lost his first professional fight this New Year’s Eve to fellow countryman and WBO super flyweight champion (115 lbs.) Kazuto Ioka (26-2 15 KOs).
It is unfortunate for U.S fans that no networks were showing or streaming this fight because it had the potential to make boxing history.
Kosei Tanaka won his first world title in his 5th professional fight at the age of 19. He sought to become a four-division world champion and be the fastest to do so in only sixteen professional fights.
The boxer to become the fastest four-division champion was Oscar De La Hoya when he beat Pernell Whitaker in his 24th professional fight.
The problem for the young Tanaka, 25 years old, was that his opponent was a four-division world champion and a seasoned 31-year-old veteran.
Kazuto Ioka became a four-division champion in his 26th professional fight when he beat Filipino boxer Aston Palicte (27-4-1 23 KOs) via 10th round TKO in June 2019.
Both Tanaka and Ioka held titles in the 105, 108, and 112 weight divisions. Tanaka was the former WBO flyweight champion (112 lbs.) until he vacated after his last title defense fight on New Year’s Eve 2019.
Tanaka was stopped in the eighth round after taking a big counter left hook that stumbled him, which led the referee to jump in and stop the bout.
In the fifth and sixth rounds, Tanaka was dropped off a counter left hook, and by the last counter left hook Tanaka took in the eight, the referee had seen enough.
Each knockdown, both fighters threw a left hook, but Ioka’s was sharper and landed first, causing the knockdowns. Tanaka was the aggressor most of the fight while Ioka was patient and picked his spots to counter.
Ioka successfully controlled the distance as it seems there were many times when Tanaka threw punches but was out of range to land.
This fight was a big test and a huge risk for Tanaka, and unfortunately, it did not pay off. In this fight, Ioka was a slight underdog, but he showed that he had the experience and skill to beat the young star Tanaka.
Ioka’s lone two losses in his professional career were both in world title fights and were both split decision losses.
It shows that Ioka has been boxing at a high level most of his career, and it was too soon for Tanaka to challenge him.
If Tanaka had won, it would have potentially propelled him to world recognition similar to his fellow countryman and multiple division champion Naoya Inoue (20-0 17 KOs).
It is still not too late for Tanaka as he could still become a four-division champion and do so in record time.
If his young career has shown anything thus far, he does not take easy fights or back down from a challenge.
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