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Why Did The WBO Order Kazuto Ioka-Donnie Nietes Rematch For Compulsory Defense?

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The World Boxing Organization has ordered Ioka (28-2, 15 knockouts) to make a mandatory defense of his junior bantamweight title against Donnie Nietes (43-1-6, 23 KOs) in what would be a rematch of their bout on New Year’s Eve in 2018, which Nietes won by split decision.

The order, dated April 1, gives the two parties 30 days to negotiate the terms of the fight before a purse bid, with a minimum acceptable bid of $100,000, is ordered.

Ioka of Osaka, Japan is represented by Yosuka Kaneko of TLAROCK Entertainment, while Nietes of Murcia, Negros Occidental, Philippines is represented by Richard Schaefer of Probellum.

Ioka, 33, rebounded from that loss, defeating Aston Palicte by tenth round TKO six months later to win the vacant belt after Nietes, now 39, vacated the title. Ioka has made four defense of the belt since then. He last fought on New Year’s Eve, outpointing compatriot Ryoji Fukunaga after plans to unify with then-IBF junior bantamweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas were nixed due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

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Nietes’ career has regressed since that decision to vacate the title. He didn’t fight for over two years after the Ioka fight, with both fights since then being in Dubai against lesser opposition. The WBO’s no. 3 contender was last in the ring last December, settling for a split draw with Norbelto Jimenez.

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