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Boxing: Ioka becomes 1st Japanese man to win in 4 weight classes

Japan's Kazuto Ioka reacts after winning the vacant WBO super flyweight crown by a 10th-round technical knockout over Aston Palicte of the Philippines on June 19, 2019, at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, near Tokyo. (Kyodo)

CHIBA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Kazuto Ioka won the vacant WBO super flyweight crown by technical knockout over Aston Palicte of the Philippines on Wednesday, becoming the first Japanese man to be crowned world champion in four different weight classes.

    The bout capped a world title triple header at Makuhari Messe convention center outside Tokyo that saw Japan's Hiroto Kyoguchi win the first defense of his WBA super light flyweight title.

    Miyo Yoshida made it a clean sweep of titles for Japanese fighters by capturing the vacant WBO women's super flyweight crown.

    The 30-year-old Ioka had fought for the same title on New Year's Eve in Macau, but lost in a split decision to Filipino boxer Donnie Nietes, who secured his fourth weight class world title with the win.

    "It's been a long time since I fought in Japan, and I'm so happy to be able to achieve this record here," said Ioka, whose record improved to 24-2 with 14 wins by knockout.

    The fight began like a chess match as Ioka deftly ducked several of Palicte's blows, then came underneath to attack and nullify his opponent's six-centimeter reach advantage.

    But as the fight wore on and both fighters appeared to lose the spring in their legs, it became a straight-on punching battle that allowed Ioka to take control.

    The 28-year-old Palicte saw his record drop to 25-3 with one draw.

    Kyoguchi won a unanimous decision to improve to 13-0. His knockout total remained at nine when his fight with previously undefeated Thai Tanawat Nakoon went the distance. Tanawat's record fell to 11-1.

    Yoshida's victory, by decision over Casey Morton of the United States, improved her record to 13-1. Morton is now 8-2 with three draws.

    In 2017, Naoko Fujioka became the first Japanese boxer to win a world title in five different weight classes when she claimed the WBO women's light flyweight title against Costa Rican Yokasta Valle.

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