The UK and Latin America have easy access, while American viewers will need to pay a few bucks extra.

2020’s last big fight also figures to be one of its best. This Thursday morning at 4:00 AM Eastern, 25-year-old Kosei Tanaka attempts to become a WBO four-division champion against countryman and current WBO Jr. Bantamweight World Champion Kazuto Ioka, who became the first male Japanese boxer to achieve the feat last year. The bout airs live on Japanese channel TBS, but luckily for us gaijin, there are a few ways to tune in.

USA: Unfortunately, no American network or streaming service has acquired broadcast rights at the time of writing. That doesn’t mean piracy is the only option, though: Asian Boxing has a guide on how to subscribe to iSakura, which allows access to TBS and other local channels. Conveniently, iSakura offers a three-day trial, which you don’t have to manually cancel afterwards, for $2.50. Just be sure to order by the end of the day; going by the website, it can take a while to process your payment.

UK: BoxNation has you covered.

Latin America: ESPN KnockOut provided a handy country-by-country breakdown.

By Patrick L. Stumberg /

After weeks talks and murmurs news broke today that UK specialist boxing channel Boxnation, along with Premier Sports, would be airing the WBO Junior Bantamweight world title bout between defending champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] and unbeaten challenger Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成].

The bout, which will be aired live from Tokyo, will have English language commentary provided by the fantastic Corey Erdman.

For US fans there is still no confirmed TV deal, but for British fans this gives them an English language option to go alongside the Japanese option given by TBS.


Weigh-In: WBO Bantamweight World Champion John Riel Casimero weighed 117 ¾ and undefeated challenger Duke Micah 117 ¼ for tomorrow night @ Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA #CharloDoubleheader Showtime #PPV

WEIGH-IN: WBO Jr. Featherweight World Champion Dina Thorslund 121.6 Vs. Nina Radovanovic 118.2 LBS for tomorrow night @ Struer Arena, Struer, Denmark

WBO Atomweight World Champion Mika Iwakawa weighed 101 lbs and challenger Nanae Suzuki weighed 100 lbs for tomorrow night @ Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. The fight will be broadcast live on the official YouTube channel “BOXING REAL”

Weigh-In: WBO European Jr. Featherweight Champion David Oliver Joyce weighed 121 lbs and Ionut Baluta 121 lbs for tomorrow night @ BT Sport Studio, Stratford, London, United Kingdom.

WBO European Light Heavyweight Champion Ricards Bolotniks faces Hosea Burton tomorrow night at Studio 69, Riga, Latvia

The World Boxing Organization (WBO), chaired by Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel, Esq. suspended the 2020 edition of its annual convention due to the current pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus.

The annual convention was scheduled to be held next October in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The decision was made by the Executive Committee and 78 member countries of the organization. The vote was unanimous. Valcárcel, Esq. indicated that the elections for all the positions of the Executive Committee and of the regional organisms were postponed until the 2021 Convention.

For his part, WBO’s legal adviser, Gustavo Olivieri, Esq. stressed that the organization’s priority is the health of all its members and the general public.

“In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the WBO’s greatest concern is the health and safety of our members, former and current champions, and the boxing community in general. Therefore, in consultation with our WBO Member Commissions around the world and the WBO Executive Committee, it was agreed that the best course of action was to postpone the annual convention for the following year (2021)”, said Olivieri.

“We hope to see and greet all of the WBO family in 2021.”

Boxer-puncher Kazuto Ioka was forced to dig deep in his first defense of the WBO junior bantamweight title but claimed a 12-round unanimous decision over mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron at the Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday.

Ioka, who is currently rated No. 3 by The Ring at 115 pounds, overcame a slow start to grind out the victory.

“I feel that I was able to produce a good effort,” Ioka (25-2, 14 knockouts) told The Ring through his international manager, Taku Nagashima. “My trainer, [Ismael] Salas, told me during camp, ‘Kazuto, sometimes you can’t just win with your skills, you have to win with your heart.’ I believe I was able to experience that.”

Ioka, 30, became the first Japanese male to win world titles in four weight classes last June. His maiden defense was therefore eagerly anticipated, and he was full of praise for his Puerto Rican opponent.

“I want to give my respect to Cintron; he is a very good young fighter,” said Ioka. “His speed and technique were better than we had anticipated, and his timing was beautiful. I think being able to showcase what I worked on in camp helped me, but my commitment not to lose allowed me to press forward with no fear.

“I wish (Cintron) the very best and I have confidence that one day he will have a chance to be a great champion for the rich history of boxing in Puerto Rico.”

Before this bout had even taken place, there was talk of a matchup between Ioka and countryman Kosei Tanaka, who appeared on the undercard. Tanaka easily dispatched Wulan Tuolehazi in three rounds, so the hype for an all-Japanese superfight continued.

Nagashima, who works for Ioka’s management company TLAROCK, was quick to address the situation.

“Yes, there are lots of rumors,” said Nagashima. “Tanaka is the WBO flyweight champion. He has major steps to clear before that is a possibility. First, he would need to vacate his belt, and second, he would need to put himself in a mandatory position.

“As a boxing fan, if Tanaka decides to move up to junior bantamweight, I’d like to see him against (Donnie) Nietes or Cintron to earn the mandatory position. So, to me, the rumors of Tanaka moving up and immediately fighting Ioka are unrealistic at this point.”

Tanaka’s manager/promoter, Kiyoshi Hatanaka, is open to the idea but said it may not be next.

“Kosei may move up to the 115-pound class within the year,” said the former WBC junior featherweight beltholder. “This time he was very successful making weight properly, so we may defend the flyweight belt one more time.”

In any case, according to Nagashima, there are several options that Ioka would be interested in exploring.

“He has stated that he has great respect for and wants to fight the legend Roman Gonzalez, but a unification is the priority,” said the manager. “In addition, fighting in the Unites States in front of a global boxing audience is very important to him.

“Personally, I’d like him to fight the toughest fight available and that would be the great Juan Francisco Estrada [who holds The Ring Magazine and WBC titles]. Kazuto is a warrior, a modern day samurai at this point in his career. I believe he prefers to be in the toughest battle possible. I’ve already been on the phone with Tom Loeffler of 360 Boxing Promotion, our North America promoter, to seek his help in securing a unification fight for Kazuto in 2020.”

By Anson Wainwright


The liaison conference of the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and the JPBA (Japan Professional Boxing Association, the union of 282 club owners) set up the necessary guidelines on Friday to prepare to resume boxing shows from July. All the shows scheduled through June had been completely canceled due to the still growing coronavirus outbreak here.

The Japanese government, on April 7, declared a state of emergency until May 6 at first and then extended it through May. But it was lifted last Thursday (May 14) as for 39 prefectures, while eight Metropolis/prefectures such as Tokyo, Osaka and six others should still stay under the coronavirus state of emergency that temporarily restrains our freedom to move around anywhere at any time for safety and sanitation. The closure of sports training facilities, including boxing gyms, still prevails nationwide for fear of any COVID-19 infection.

The JBC/JPBA conference announced as follows:

There are eight applications for promotions in July including a show behind closed doors by Ohashi Promotions on July 16, and others by Misako Promotions on July 22, by World Sports Promotions on July 22, and by East Japan Boxing Association on July 30. The conference, in accordance with the advice medical specialists against the virus infection, drew up the following guidelines to approve the promotions to take place:

1- To keep social distance between the spectators, which may allow only one-third of the capacity audience at boxing arenas like the Korakuen Hall.

2- To regulate the number of bouts up to eight per promotion.

3- To separate a promotion into a couple of cards such as the daytime and night shows at the same arena provided that the local promoter should wish to stage more than eight bouts.

4- To mandate cornermen, judges and JBC officials to wear masks (as for the referee, such protection as faceguard or mask may prevent the third man from making a quick decision or action, so he (the ref) will not be forced to wear the mask or faceguard at this moment).

5- To take care of the mouth guard since it may have a danger of contagious source, so the mouthpiece should be carefully treated for the sake of virus prevention in sparring sessions at the gyms.

Upon the JBC’s final approval of the said applications for boxing shows to take place in July, they will be put into practice. It is good we may be able to welcome boxing back soon even with stringent regulations and restrictions here in Japan.

By Joe Koizumi /
Korakuen Hall / Photo: Boxing Beat

The first world title fight in Japan this year came earlier today as former world champions Ayaka Miyao (23-8-2, 6) [宮尾 綾香] and Etsuko Tada (19-3-3, 6) [多田悦子] clashed for the vacant WBO female Mini-Flyweight title.

On paper this looked like an excellent match up between two world class veterans. Whilst both were coming to the end of their careers both are still world class and we were expecting an ultra competitive bout between fighters who have been fighting at the top of the sport for years. When it came to the in ring action proved to be just as competitive than we expected.

Coming in we had anticipated the speed and volume of Miyao to be one of two major differences. The other with the power and strength of Tada. And this really proved to be the case with neither fighter ever doing enough to really dominate the action.

Early on Miyao used single shots, though lack of power, something that has been obvious through her career, meant they never bothered Tada. Whilst they were landing clean they did little whereas Tada’s shots were having a clear visible impact, and kept Miyao at range. Whilst the volume seemed to be from Miyao the heavier blows were certainly from Tada.

As we went through the rounds Miyao’s work rate grew and grew. The single shots were becoming less common and instead it was short raids and flurries from the Watanabe Gym fighter. She was coming in and letting 2 and 3 punch combinations go, firing off with both hands. This caused the action to get a touch messy, though both certainly had their moments in what were some hard to score rounds.

​Tada started to look more and more like she was tiring in the later rounds of the fight whilst the quicker, sharper Miyao, really turned it on late, easily out landing Tada in the final rounds, as she tried to swing things her way. It was this late effort from Miyao that could made all the difference had it come just a few rounds earlier.

In the end the bout was a hard one to score. Both fighters had clearly taken a number of rounds each, but the others were debatable either way, and that showed on the score cards.

The first card favoured the 38 year old Tada, 96-94, the second card went with the 36 year old Miyao, 96-94, with the third being an even score of 95-95.

The result, a draw, leaves the title vacant.


The weigh-in ceremony of the year-end world title tripleheader took place today (Monday) at Shingawa Prince Hotel, where the results were as follows:

WBO Junior Bantamweight title

Kazuto Ioka (Japan) 115 vs. Jeyvier Cintron (Puerto Rico) 114.75

WBO Flyweight title

Kosei Tanaka (Japan) 112 vs. Wulan Tuolehazi (China) 112

WBO Female Junior Bantamweight title

Miyo Yoshida (Japan) 114.75 vs. Li-Ping Shi (China) 112.25

The officials thereof were announced by the JBC (Japan Boxing Commission), as follows:

Ioka vs. Cintron
Referee Tony Weeks (US); judges Wes Melton (US), Julio Cesar Alvarado (Panama), Philip Austin (Australia); supervisor Leon Panoncillo (US)

Tanaka vs. Wulan
Referee Jose Rivera (Puerto Rico); judges Hernando Steidel (Puerto Rico); Julio Cesar Alvarado (Panama), Sawaeng Thaweekoon (Thailand); supervisor Tsuyoshi Yasukochi (Japan)

Referee Jose Rivera (Puerto Rico); Wes Melton (US), Sawaeng Thaweekoon (Thailand), Philip Austin (Australia); Leon Panoncillo (US)

This show is presented by Watanabe Promotions in association with Hatanaka Promotions. The main event of the Ioka-Cintron bout will be shown nationwide through TBS Television at 6:00 PM on Tuesday (New Year’s Eve) here in Japan.

By Joe Koizumi /

Earlier today at Haneda airport that was an event held to try and build attention for the final big show of the decade, a triple world title card in Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan

One of the world title bouts there will see Miyo Yoshida [吉田 実代] defending her WBO Female Jr. Bantamweight World title against Chinese challenger Li Ping Shi.

Today the two were supposed to have a face off as part of the event, though unfortunately Shi’s arrival in Japan was delayed, leaving Yoshida, along with her 4 year old daughter, on the stage.

Yoshida sport about Shi being a strong fighter but believed she had the skills to win, and had practised hard. Her daughter, who had dressed like a character from Frozen, added that she wanted her mum to win, in scenes that were surprisingly cute for what was essentially a boxing press conference.

Despite have not yet scored a stoppage win Yoshida was tipped to score her first stoppage here by both Daisuke Naito and Takashi Uchiyama, who will be doing the commentary on Paravi for the bout.


Photo via / FujikiPhoto: Akira Honma

On New Year’s Eve, in the penultimate world title bout of the decade, WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成] will take on Chinese challenger Wulan Tuolehazi (13-3-1, 6) [乌兰]. Today the two men met for the first time, and took part in a face-off at Haneda Airport. Fight venue: Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan

Tanaka, who headed over to Tokyo from Nagoya especially for the event, spoke to the press and stated that it was good to have such an exciting event to finish the year.

Wulan, who is fighting in Japan for the second time, explained that Tanaka is a great fighter, but added that he was confident and would do everything he could to win.

The men faced off, without breaking away, for around 30 seconds, in what was an intense stare down.

The two men also took part in the ceremonial contract signing, that we often see done in Japan in the week of a fight, often on the week of a world title fight.


On December 31st we’ll see the year close out with a stacked card from Watanabe, headlined by WBO Jr. Bantamweight Champion Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔] taking on mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (11-0-0-1, 5). Today the men went face to face for the first time, meeting at the Haneda airport in Japan.

The two engaged in a lengthy, and intense face off, as well as talking to the press in quite a public setting.

Ioka seemed impressed by his opponents reputation, speaking about how Cintron is a 2-time Olympian and an undefeated professional. But added that he was prepared to win, and had been Stateside until just a few days ago.

​If Ioka wins, as is expected by many, there was two names suggested that he may face off with next. One of those is fellow Japanese fighter Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成], who will be defending his WBO Flyweight title against awkward Chinese challenger Wulan Tuolehazi (13-3-1, 6) [乌兰] on the same show, and the other is Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (48-2, 40). Despite those names being mentioned to him today, Ioka stated that his focus was solely on Cintron.

Cintron on the other hand explained how he was honoured to have a fight in Japan, and came to take the belt back to Puerto Rico. He stated he was in good shape and seemed very calm and relaxed.


AN JUAN, PUERTO RICO- Puerto Rican Jeyvier Cintron traveled early this morning to Japan for the upcoming challenge with Japanese Kazuto Ioka for the 115-pound WBO belt on December 31 at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

Cintrón (11-0 1ND, 5 KOs), the first Puerto Rican boxer to participate in two Olympic Games (2012 and 2016), went along with his trainer Iván “Iron Boy” Calderón, also trainer Alfonso “Ury” Ramos, his father and former boxer Javier “Perrito” Cintrón, and Peter Rivera, Vice-President of PR Best Boxing Promotions.

The WBO’s mandatory challenger at 115 pounds will face Ioka (24-2, 14 kos), who has been world champion in four divisions (105, 108, 112 and 115 pounds) and won the WBO belt at 115 pounds when he beat Filipino Aston Palicte by TKO in June when faced for the vacant title.

For the Ioka-Cintron meeting, the officials have already been assigned. The referee will be the American Tony Weeks and the judges Wes Melton (United States), Phil Austin (Australia) and Julio César Alvarado (Panama). The WBO supervisor will be León Panoncillo Jr.

WBO Annual Convention Report Day 3

At the beginning of the week the now 32nd convention of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) started in Tokyo. An event that brings together promoters, matchmakers and boxers from around the world to discuss various topics. For Erol Ceylan, head of EC Boxing from Hamburg, the event turned out to be very happy right from the beginning. The 47-year-old was honored by WBO President Francisco Valcárcel for his valuable work as a promoter and even received a specially made by the Organization.

The final day of the 32nd annual WBO convention in Tokyo, Japan concluded last night with the event that always has no shortage of drama: the Championship and Ratings Committee meeting. And in boxing’s biggest weight class there was one undeniable fact…the division was in a holding pattern as they waited for this weekend’s fight to conclude between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua. With the winner mandated to fight two separate fighters (Aleksandr Usyk, the WBO #1 ranked contender and mandatory challenger to the belt as well as IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev) and with the #2 ranked heavyweight (Tyson Fury) on a crash course towards a WBC world heavyweight title fight against Deontay Wilder there was no question as to who the big winner would be once the dust settled.

“Joseph Parker remains the only man to beat your champ Andy Ruiz,” David Higgins said to the WBO President and the championship committee. “He’s very grateful to the WBO and would like to challenge for the WBO title should (Tyson) Fury move out. He’d like to move up to #3.”

Higgins, the manager of the former WBO heavyweight champion, was clearly positioning the Kiwi fighter for the most important spot in the rankings that was still in play. What was apparent was that such a move could put Parker in line for a title fight in the next few months if the winner of the Ruiz-Joshua fight elected to give up his WBO belt and defend his belt against the mandatory IBF challenger instead. Such a move would almost certainly lead to an Usyk-Parker fight for the vacant title.

“If the belt becomes vacant he (Parker) would like to raise his hand and fight Usyk of the vacant title.” Higgins added.

There was no question that Parker remains highly regarded by many on the WBO, and it did appear that Joseph Parker was the man who found the last Golden Ticket in his Wonka Bar.

“He has been a great champion and we are very proud of him,” President Valcarcel said of the Kiwi.

In other heavyweight news, the prospect of an interesting Pacific heavyweight clash became a bit closer to reality as undefeated Chinese bomber Zhilei Zhang (21-0, 16 KOs) received a push from promoter Dino Duva after having been dropped from the rankings due to inactivity.

“He lost his rank due to inactivity,” Duva admitted. “(But this was) due to visa issues.” Duva also made it clear that his Chinese fighter would be more than willing to fight New Zealand’s Junior Fa (19-0, 10 KOs) who is currently the #7 ranked heavyweight contender.

Another fighter from the Far East, Japan’s Kyoto Fujimoto (21-1, 13 KOs) also received a push to reenter the world rankings. Shinto Suzuki requested a top ten ranking for the local boxer, who is currently slated to fight undefeated Daniel Dubois on December 21.

In the light heavyweight division, Lee Eaton from MTK Global made a push to see #11 ranked Steven Ward move up the rankings.

At 168 pounds President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel stated that the WBO has given champion Billy Joe Saunders “a lot of leeway” when it came to making his mandatory defense, indicating that Saunders would have to fight a mandatory in his next title fight.

For Brazil’s Patrick Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs) there is going to be no time to sit on his laurels. After winning the WBO interim 154-pound title on November 30, he now finds himself with a mandatory opponent, one that he will need to make his first defense against.

In a unanimous vote, the WBO voted to name undefeated Argentinian Brian Carlos Castaño (16-0-1, 12 KOs) as the mandatory challenger and ordered the Brazilian champion to start negotiations with Castaño and his team.

In the welterweight division, Lee Eaton made a push for the WBO European champion Michael Mckinnon (the #9 ranked contender) to move into the #6 slot, noting that he did recently defeat the #6 ranked welterweight recently.

In the 140-pound division, Francis Warren made a push for #14 ranked Sam Maxwell (the WBO European champion) while Angelo DeCarlo made a push for the #11 ranked lightweight, Jason Ng to move into the top ten.

At 122-pounds Sean Gibbons made a push for the #10 ranked Mexican Cesar Juarez, who is making a strong push for comeback fighter of the year. Juarez is slated to fight undefeated prospect Angelo Leo (18-0, 8 KOs) on December 28. With Leo ranked #14 in the WBO Gibbons pushed for a top 3 ranking for Juarez should he win.

In the 105-pound division, a push was made for Melvin Jerusalem to move into the top five.

* * *

In other business conducted on the final day, Puerto Rico was selected as the venue for the 2020 WBO convention, with Florida being named the backup.

A busy Day 1 at the 32nd WBO Convention in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan – The 32nd annual WBO convention officially began yesterday at the luxurious Tokyo Dome Hotel with the first day packed with meetings and other activities.

The Executive Meeting took off with the President’s Report, Treasurer’s Report, Championship Committee Report, Grievance Committee Report, and annual presentations given by the regional directors of the WBO Latino, WBO International, WBO Europe, WBO Inter-Continental, WBO Global, WBO Asia Pacific, WBO Africa, WBO China Zone and NABO.

On safety issues, the priority of this convention:

“The doctors in the ring have to be prepared for the possibility of a fighter being seriously injured, including the possibility of brain damage. Sometimes the supervisors don’t know about medical procedures and doctor specialized care for these situations”, WBO President Francisco Valcárcel, Esq, said. “Supervisors should work to enforce our rules. Sometimes the doctor is a general practitioner. Sometimes they don’t know or ask about the distance from the fight venue to the hospital or if the hospital have a neurologist or neurosurgeon available that night. Not everybody can be a supervisor or a doctor in a boxing match.”

“If you’re dealing with boxing, the best doctor to work a fight should be a neurologist or neurosurgeon,” Valcárcel added.

WBO Legal Advisor Andre Horn stated: “It’s clear we are not here to run the show in a boxing event but to enforce the WBO rules. We want to protect not only the WBO fighters but all fighters. We are all brothers.”

At the end of the session, the Japanese press interviewed Valcárcel and asked about a possible bout between Japanese star and Bantamweight World Champion Naoya Inoue and newly crowned WBO Bantamweight World Champion Johnriel Casimero, of the Philippines.

“We have been working on that fight. Inoue got a contract to fight in America with Top Rank. Manny Pacquiao is Casimero’s promoter. He’s very close to WBO too. Before the fight between Tete and Casimero, I talked to Casimero’s team, Frank Warren, Team Tete, Bob Arum and Manny Pacquiao to make the unification fight with Inoue possible early next year. Inoue is in an elite position and needs elite fights. And I can assure you that if something happened during this convention, I can give you the date of the fight this week. Carl Moretti, VP of Top Rank, and Sean Gibbons, representing Casimero’s team are here in Tokyo. For sure they will start a conversation for that fight. It will be a tough fight for both. We are talking about two elite fighters.”

The night concluded with a Welcome Cocktail Party for all members and participants at MLB CAFÉ (Tokyo Dome City).

Photos by Robert Richard / WBO

The 32nd annual WBO Convention kicked off today (Tuesday, December 3rd) at the Tokyo Dome Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, its first time hosting a convention in the Land of the Rising Sun. And from what Day One showed, it looks like Japan and the WBO are going to score a knockout with this year’s convention. Although day one was focused primarily on the reports from the various regional organizations, there was one undeniable theme from the WBO this year: that of the need and importance of safety in boxing. And there was no question after day one that the WBO was going to leave no stone unturned in it’s quest to make boxing a safer sport for its fighters.

The event kicked off just after 8 AM with an introduction of the committee and the members from around the world, as well as distinguished representatives from the WBA, the Japan Boxing Commission, and the NABF.

From there the various regional vice presidents and committee chair members gave their annual reports, and what would prove to be a reoccurring theme: 2019 proved to be a banner year for the WBO.

The first report was conducted by attorney and vice chairman of the WBO Championship Committee Enrique Mendoza. Mendoza gave a summary of the state of the WBO world title and the activity of the coveted belt, noting that there were 68 world title fights held since the last convention with 44 male title fights and 24 female title fights. The United States was host to the vast majority of those fights with 29 men’s world title fights being held in the USA and 13 female world title fights being held in the United States. California was the most notable location for world title fights with the WBO, with 9 out of the 44 men’s championship fights being hosted in California. Top Rank Promotions was the most prolific promoter of WBO world title fights as well, with 9 WBO world title fights promoted by them.

The next report on the Ratings Committee came from attorney Edgardo Lopez Sasso, chairman of the Ratings Committee. Sasso gave a brief presentation that highlighted many of the factors that go into the selection process of a WBO contender, including a “positive amateur record with special emphasis on medals obtained in international and Olympic tournaments” as well as a “positive professional record with special emphasis on boxers recent activity.” But he also highlighted many of the other factors that the WBO prizes in fighters such as “positive TV exposure”, good relationship with the community, and for the fighter to have “no drug-related problems.”

From there one of boxing’s most notable regional titles, the NABO, was highlighted with a report on that organization by Vice President Richard De Cuir. De Cuir noted that since the last convention there have been 25 NABO title fights, with Top Rank again taking the lead as the most prolific promoter of NABO title fights.

“The are stupendous,” De Cuir added of the success of Top Rank in promoting fights involving NABO champions.

The success of the NABO led to an interesting proposal by De Cuir as he suggested bringing in Craig Hubble as co-chair of the NABO, a proposal that was warmly embraced by other members.

After De Cuir’s report on the NABO, WBO Inter-Continental Chairperson Beate Poeske of Germany gave her report on that organization. With 30 title fights, including four in November of 2019, there was little question that the WBO Inter-Continental was also proving to be a knockout for the WBO.

From there the always passionate Jorge Molina gave his report on the WBO Latino, and once again Molina showed why success in the WBO Latino is one of the best indicators of future world title success. Since the last convention, Molina was proud to announce that there had been 12 WBO Latino champions who fought for a world title, with two winning the world title belt (including Brazil’s Teixeira, who won the junior middleweight belt just three days before the start of the convention.

The next region to present a report was WBO Europe, which has been capably handled by former world champion Istvan “Koko” Kovacs. Kovacs and WBO Europe have remained one of the most prolific regional titles in the sport and 2019 saw a continuation of that dominance with 46 WBO European title fights since the last convention. In 2019 also Europe has hosted 87 WBO world and regional title fights, a steady upward trend that has seen the number of fights continue to rise since 2016 (when Europe hosted 65 title fights). And with a vast majority of WBO European champions being undefeated, there is little question that there are some legitimate prospects and contenders who are honing their skills in WBO Europe. Since it’s inception WBO Europe has handled over 220 title fights.

Following Kovacs’s presentation, a brief video on the WBO Kids Drug Free Program was played, as well as a touching tribute to popular judge Harold Lederman, who passed away on May 11, 2019. A third video, which was a recap of the 2018 convention in Panama, followed before the break.

After the break, a report from Asia/Pacific, Oriental, Africa, and China Vice President Leon Panoncillo commenced and Panoncillo again proved to be boxing’s own Cal Ripken Jr. Panoncillo has proved to be an absolute workhorse, sanctioning fights across the globe, from Accra to Osaka. In his role as head of the WBO Asia Pacific he oversaw 20 title fights. The WBO Asia Pacific Youth title was involved in four fights and there were an additional four WBO Asia Pacific female fights. For the WBO International Panoncillo oversaw an impressive 35 total championship fights, making it one of the most successful and profitable belts in the WBO lineup. The WBO Oriental belt was fought for 20 times since the last convention, while the WBO Africa belt was involved in 20 additional fights. Rounding off Panoncillo’s report were statistics on the WBO Africa Youth belt, which was contested in two bouts the WBO China National title (which was involved in one fight) and the WBO Greater China, which was involved in two title fights.

The following report came from an American football loving Australian and longtime WBO member Danny Leigh. Leigh took over as head of the newly created WBO Global in 2019 and if there were a comparison to American football, Leigh and the WBO Global have emerged as boxing’s version of Patrick Mahomes. One day everyone woke up and noticed that there was a new powerhouse in the sport that seemed to come out of nowhere. The WBO Global has seen 26 fights in its first year.

The next report discussed the status of the WBO brand and President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel’s desire to see a uniformed logo on all of the WBO belts.

The next discussion proved to be one of the most informative as WBO First Vice President John Duggan spoke at length about the issue of boxing safety as renewed calls for the abolition of boxing have resurfaced after the death of several fighters in 2019. A recent medical journal (the Annals of Neurology) published a piece calling for the total ban on boxing, and Duggan noted that this is not an unusual position among various medical associations. As a result, he cited a fascinating article written by a Dr. Nitin Sethi, who recognized that boxing can never be made completely safe, but could be made safer. One of the most compelling arguments was the need to change the culture of boxing, citing one of boxing’s most historic moments: the infamous no mas fight. Sethi noted that there should be no shame in saying no mas and that the sport needs to revisit the position that a fighter never quits. Needless to say, it was a refreshing and compelling argument to hear at a sanctioning organization conference that the sport itself needs to reevaluate its culture and values…and for boxing to change the narrative and recognize that a fighter doesn’t have to go out on his shield in a fight he is not going to win.

After lunch, a short video followed on the state of women’s boxing before attorney Fernando Gierbolini gave a presentation on the WBO Grievance Committee. Starting off on a reiteration of the process, Gierbolini then discussed the three cases the committee handled in 2018-2019. This included the recent appeal filed by Krzysztof Glowacki, who lost in controversial fashion to WBO cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis back in June of 2019. Briedis scored a controversial 3rd round stoppage in a fight that was mired in controversy. This prompted the WBO Championship Committee to state that they although they lacked jurisdiction to challenge the result that Breidis would have to defend his title against Glowacki after he completed the WBSS final. However, the Grievance Committee, by a 2-1 vote, overruled the Championship Committee and ordered an immediate rematch, which in turn prompted Briedis to vacate the belt. It was a moment that Gierbolini was able to cite as proof of the independence of the Grievance Committee when hearing appeals of the Championship Committee rulings.

Attorney Andrew Horn spoke about the legal history of the WBO, and discussed the litigation that followed the Michael Watson-Chris Eubank fight and how that led to a landmark case on the safety standards that must be in place for each fight. From there John Duggan spoke to the members on the new pamphlets that were prepared for WBO supervisors, while also reiterating the standards that the WBO expects of its supervisors.

“Supervisors should be completely neutral,” President Valcarcel added during a discussion, “I hate when you see supervisors taking pictures with the fighter and posting it on…Instagram.”

Duggan’s summary covered everything from the prohibition on asking for tickets from the promoter to what the dress code is for supervisors in WBO world title fights and regional title fights. Upon completion of his report, another video on the WBO Kids Drug Free was shown before the members went into recess for the day. Day two will see the seminars for judges and referees as well as the executive session, which will all take place at the Tokyo Dome Hotel.

By David Finger

The World Boxing Organization (WBO) will hold its thirty-second annual convention in the city of Tokyo, Japan, from December 2 to 5, 2019.

As every year, the presence of world sport legends, world champions and former champions, world ranked contenders, prospects, trainers, managers, promoters, officers, as well as figures from political, social and cultural circles are expected.

The convention will also include judge and referee seminars, committee reports, and an awards gala. Various topics will be discussed, many related to fighter safety, global regulations, and classifications, among other topics.

The convention will be broadcast live on the official WBO Facebook page

The agenda of the convention is available at the following link:

WBO ‘Champions Tournament’ on October 5 @ San Juan, Puerto Rico, as prelude to ‘WBO 32nd Convention’ @ Tokyo, Japan later in December

Boxing event on Saturday October 5 when Miguel Cotto Promotions and H2 Entertainment present with DIRECTV the special edition of the “WBO: Champions Tournament” in a great event that will serve as a prelude to the 32nd convention to be held in Tokyo, Japan later in December 2019. ( Convention Information )

Top prospect Danielito Zorrilla will headline to go for his first title against the dangerous Mexican Jesus Pérez (23-2 with 18 KO’s) for the Interim WBO NABO Jr. Welterweight.

Zorrilla vs. Perez will be the main event of the successful series DIRECTV Boxing Nights and will be live from the Pedrin Zorrilla Coliseum in San Juan. The event will go exclusively to all DIRECTV customers in Puerto Rico through OnDIRECTV, channel 161.

Zorrilla (12-0, 10 KOs) comes from a tremendous KO victory over the previously undefeated Juan Carlos Cordines (14-1, 9KOs) in last August 21 at San Juan.

This super card will also feature a second title brawl when Nicaraguan Carlos ‘El Chocorroncito’ Buitrago (31-5-1 with 17 KO’s) faces Israel Vázquez (10-3-1 with 7 KO’s) for the vacant Latino championship of WBO at 108 pounds.

Buitrago is a veteran who has four world championship fights in his resume and comes from a very close setback against world class contender McWilliams Arroyo during his 112-pound experiment last June.

In addition, the event will include the promising Juan Carlos ‘El Indio’ Camacho (11-1 with 6 KO’s) in duel with the Argentine Lucas Fernández (12-2-1 with 9 KO’s), which is scheduled to a maximum of 8 rounds at 115 pounds and that will serve as an opening bout for the exclusive transmission of the event.

“We are very excited about this great event dedicated to the fans and that serves as a prelude to the 32nd convention of the WBO in December in Tokyo, Japan is a great initiative of Paco and the WBO for boxing, the fans are going to enjoy we are honored to be part of this great tournament,” said Héctor Soto, vice president of Miguel Cotto Promotions and H2 Entertainment.

“The WBO: Champions Tournament is an excellent opportunity for quality and rising fighters to face each other,” said Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel, the president of the World Boxing Organization.
“This is the first test for Danielito Zorrilla, who is probably one of the best three prospects coming out from Puerto Rico. And starting with this kind of fight gives brightness to the tournament,” said Valcarcel.

“Danielito Zorrilla goes to a great test against Jesus Pérez. He is a young tough Mexican this fight promises fireworks, and even more is for NABO interim championship of the WBO in the beginning of this exciting champion’s tournament, this is great for boxing!. In addition, the clash of Buitrago vs. Israel Vazquez promises great action clash and, as if that were not enough, we will have the fight of “Indio” Camacho vs. Lucas Fernández, who also promises a lot of fist flying around. On October 5 at the Coliseíto Pedrín Zorrilla will host a great night with the kind of competitive fights that the fan can’t miss”, said promoter Miguel Cotto.

Tickets will go on sale on Monday September 9 at 10:00am they have a price of $25 General Entrance. $30 Ring Side and $35 VIP tables. They will be available at TICKET PLUS calling at (787)808-5000 or visiting

Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez gave Kosei Tanaka fits for a while in today’s WBO flyweight title fight in Nagoya, Japan, but the home fighter found the sweet spot and poured on the body work for a seventh round stoppage, retaining his 112-pound title.

Tanaka (14-0, 8 KO) had clear problems with the southpaw style and quick feet of Gonzalez (22-3-1, 13 KO) in the first couple of rounds, but dropped the visiting challenger with a body shot in the third. Gonzalez, though, was undeterred, and scored a questionable knockdown of his own, landing a cuffing left hand that landed on the back of Tanaka’s neck, which was ruled a knockdown.

Gonzalez kept boxing effectively and neutering much of Tanaka’s offense in the fifth round, but Tanaka started finding the body again a bit in the sixth, setting up a monster seventh round where he dropped Gonzalez three times, forcing a stoppage by referee Celestino Ruiz. It has to be said that Gonzalez got up every single time, despite obvious pain, and on the final two times he rose from the canvas, the Japanese fans reacted with genuine shock and admiration for his toughness.

Still, the fight being stopped when it was was fair enough — Gonzalez probably could have continued on, but Tanaka had flipped the switch and was mowing him down, living up to his status as the man widely considered the top 112-pound fighter in boxing today.

Photo by Andre Ueda

Puerto Rican Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez, the mandatory challenger against WBO flyweight titlist Kosei Tanaka, arrived in Nagoya, Japan, on Saturday, when there were many press people and cameramen welcoming the southpaw challenger.

Our first impression was his size with a 5’2” height, which might mean his speed and agility since he had acquired some important world youth championship medals prior to his entry into the paid ranks. Bomba (22-2-1-1NC, 13 KOs), 28, is the son of his father/manager/trainer and formerly two-time Golden Glove flyweight winner, Luis Gonzalez.

Bomba confidently said upon his arrival at the airport, “I believe I’m faster than Tanaka. I will outspeed him and wrest his WBO belt to bring it back to Puerto Rico without doubt.”

Their highly expected confrontation will take place next Saturday at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena, Nagoya, where Kosei, during his reign as WBO 108-pound champ, defeated previously unbeaten Puerto Rican challenger Angel Acosta on a unanimous decision by decking the unblemished KO artist in May, 2017. Acosta is now the WBO junior flyweight titleholder.

The promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka, former WBC 122-pound titlist, smiled at Bomba’s great confidence and eloquence as well. We look forward to watching very fast eye-catching rallies of the speedsters.

Report, Photo by Joe Koizumi /

Kazuto Ioka becomes first Japanese four-division champ with TKO of Aston Palicte

CHIBA – Veteran Kazuto Ioka became the first Japanese boxer to capture world titles in four different weight divisions with a dramatic 10th-round technical knockout of top contender Aston Palicte of the Philippines for the vacant WBO super flyweight championship at Makuhari Messe Event Hall on Wednesday night.

Ioka fought carefully and patiently against the bigger Palicte, who seemed much more powerful, putting his guard up for much of the bout.

But the 30-year-old’s outstanding defensive technique and footwork finally paid off in the decisive round when he landed a heavy counter blow to Palicte and rained down punch after punch on his opponent.

Paclite was soon unable to do anything to fend off Ioka’s attacks and referee Kenny Chevalier got in between the two fighters and waved his hand to stop it with 1 minute, 14 seconds left in the round.

“I’ve dedicated everything I’ve got to getting this belt,” said Ioka (24-2, 14 KOs), who competed in his native Japan for the first time in two years and two months. “It’s been a while for me to fight in Japan, but I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to accomplish the four-division titles on Japanese soil.”

The 28-year-old Palicte, who was the No. 1 contender, fell to 25-2-1 (21 KOs) in his pro career.

There have been six Japanese boxers, including Ioka, who have captured world titles in three different weight divisions.

Ioka fought against the Philippines’ Donnie Nietes in Macau last December looking to become a four-division king but fell short in a decision.

Ioka, a Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, native, returned from a brief retirement last year.

Photo by KYODO

Slick-punching Miyo Yoshida (13-1, no KO), 114.25, acquired the vacant WBO Female Jr. Bantamweight belt by scoring a nearly shutout decision (100-90 twice, 99-91) over Casey Morton (8-2-3, 1 KO), 115, over ten hard-fought rounds on Wednesday in Chiba, Japan as part of Ioka-Palicte undercard.

Yoshida, despite her lack of convincing power, displayed good precision in connecting with sharp left-right combinations and right uppercuts to the onrushing opponent, 35, handled by Nonito Donaire’s father.

The 31-year-old Yoshida’s sharpshooting accounted for her long-anticipated coronation.

Photo by

World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 1-ranked contender “Mighty” Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KOs)is currently training in Baguio, Philippines, for his June 19th showdown with three-division world champion Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13 KOs) for the vacant WBO Junior Bantamweight World Championship, at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City, Chiba, Japan.

UFC Fight Pass® has the worldwide live streaming rights outside of Japan. Palicte vs. Ioka will be the first world boxing championship streamed live on FIGHT PASS, which recently finalized an agreement with Palicte’s promoter, Roy Jones, Jr. Boxing Promotions (RJJ Boxing), to live- stream up to 72 professional boxing events on FIGHT PASS through 2021.

Palicte vs. Ioka is co-promoted by RJJ Boxing and Reason Taki Promotions.

“Everything is in place to have the first World Title fight ever shown on UFC FIGHT PASS,” RJJ Boxing CEO/Co-Founder Keith Veltre said. “Promoting the first World Title fight on the UFC platform is big and I promise fireworks will be in full force with Palicte vs Ioka.”

“Ioka is a very solid boxer who has good head and foot movements,” noted living legend Roy Jones, Jr., co-founder of RJJ Boxing. “He also counter-punches well. So, Aston will have to be on his ‘A’ game. He will have the edge in power, but he can’t allow Ioka to make him punch himself out.”

The first half of Palicte’s training camp for the Ioka fight was held in Manila. “Camp has been good,” Palicte reported. “I got in some sessions with my teammate, Kristian Hernandez, and American Ernel Fontanilla, in Manila. We’re training in Baguio for several reasons: focus, high altitude and sparring with Philippine National Team members.”

The 28-year-old Palicte knocked out his previously unbeaten Puerto Rican opponent, Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez, this past January 31st in the second round of their WBO title eliminator. Palicte become the mandatory challenger for the 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.

“Fighting Nietes for the world title helped a lot,” Palicte added. “It taught me how to be composed and focused under pressure.”

The No. 2-rated Ioka, 30, is a four-time, three-division world champion having already captured the World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight, WBA light flyweight, and WBA/World Boxing Council (WBC) minimumweight championships.

His only two losses as a professional, both by way of 12-round split decisions, have been in world title fights to Nietes and Amnat Ruenroeng for the International (IBF) flyweight title in 2014.

Ioka, who has a 13-2 (3 KOs) record in world title fights, 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.

“Ioka is definitely a top contender and I will not look past that,” Palicte remarked. “He’s going to give it his all just as I will. We’ll stick with our game plan and everything else about his past is just background for us.”

A victory over Ioka will allow Palicte to join Filipino world boxing champions, past and present, such as Nietes, Manny Pacquiao, Pancho Villa, Flash Elorde, and Nonito Donaire, among others.

Palicte has received tips and words of encouragement from some of his world champion Filipino boxers and he isn’t concerned about fighting Ioka in Japan. “The common words everyone has given me is to put in the work,” Palicte concluded, “because training camp determines the outcome of every fight performance.

“Ideally, of course, we’d rather fight in the states, but we also have nothing but the utmost respect for Japan and its culture. We are all looking forward to the experience.”