Tom Loeffler: Discusses potential of Roman Gonzalez Vs Kazuto Ioka in USA

Kazuto Ioka continued on the road towards hall-of-famer status with his victory against an incredibly overweight Joshua Franco last month. The Japanese star claimed the WBA super flyweight world title to become a two-time champion at 115 pounds in Tokyo, Japan.

Ioka (30-2-1, 15 KOs) has claimed a world title in four weight classes by the age of 34, the twilight of his career could involve some serious career defining moments sitting at the top of the division with Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez and countryman Junto Nakatani.

The weight class has proven fruitful for boxing fans over the last decade providing fight fans with some all time classics. Promoter Tom Loeffler joined forces with HBO to shine a light on the not so fashionable division at the time. Spearheaded by Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, Loeffler’s Super Fly series was well received. DAZN along with Matchroom have continued to carry the torch for the smaller men, with Japan never missing a beat.

“We have a great relationship with Kazuto.” Loeffler said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “He fought on one of our Super Fly shows in Los Angeles on HBO. It worked out really well for him, it put him in a good position to then go back to Japan and do what he did. He is one of the most impressive fighters I’ve worked with. A four-division world champion and still going strong, we will always support him and have a good relationship with him. Whenever he wants to come back to the United States and fight, we will definitely help him out with that, for sure.”

Ioka last fought Stateside in 2018 defeating McWilliams Arroyo on the undercard of Donnie Nietes Vs Aston Palicte. Estrada joined Ioka on the undercard that night in a series that saw men fighting under 115 pounds pushed in the direction of the boxing mainstream.

“I was excited that I got to develop the Super Fly series, it definitely helped the economics of the guys fighting in the lower weight classes.” Loeffler continued. “Promoters used to really overlook the flyweight and super flyweight divisions. We had Chocolatito as the co-feature to Gennadiy [Golovkin] three times on HBO, he performed so well and complimented GGG’s fanbase perfectly. It would be like a soccer stadium, you would see the Nicaraguan’s in one corner with flags and you would see Kazakh flags, it really had a great energy in the crowd.

“Because of all that I was able to talk to Peter Nelson at HBO. All of the lighter weight guys were willing to fight each other, whereas you get the heavyweights or middleweights and they do anything they can to avoid fighting another champion. With Super Fly we could matchup Estrada with Chocolatito or [Srisaket] Sor Rungvisai, even Carlos Cuadras, all of them. Eddie [Hearn] has picked up on that since HBO went out of business. But I was very proud of opening the doors to the lighter weight divisions and boost not only their recognition but also their earning potential. If you look at in on the surface, they will usually put on a better performance than the guys in the heavier divisions. We brought over Naoya Inoue for his US debut, he fought on our show as well.”

The prospective fights are mouthwatering in an always competitive division.

“The great thing about him is that he is willing to fight any of those names.” Loeffler added. “He’s a champion himself, any of those names would be great fights for him. You can plugin Ioka Vs Chocolatito, Ioka Vs any of those guys and it is going to be a big fight. It is exciting stuff. He is legend over there in Japan, he’s got rockstar status over there. He ever wants to fight in the US, like I said, we will definitely support him with that.”