Ioka vs Fukunaga Betting Pick, Latest Odds and Boxing Analysis

This boxing title bout has been put together at the last minute, so we’re looking closely at the stats to put together our top Ioka vs Fukanaga betting pick. We’ll go through the fighters attributes, the latest odds, fight tape studies and Compubox stats to give you the most accurate look at each fighter’s chances of success. 
This bout has no prop bets currently available, so we’re focusing on the money line of each fighter. 

Story of the Fight

Ioka was scheduled for a 115 pound title unification bout against IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas. Japan locked the country down due to the Omicron variant and the fight was off in an instant. It seemed that no one would be able to face Ioka when former Triple Crown champion Ryoji Fukanaga stepped out of the woodworks on just two weeks’ notice, and we have a fight! Fukanaga is scheduled to defend his own titles in January, so he’s fighting three times in under 150 days. 
This Friday, December 31st, 2021 at Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, the WBO Super Fly title is on the line. Watch the bout on FITE TV or FITE pay-per view. 

Tale of the Tape for Ioka vs Fukunaga

Ioka has Fukanaga heavily outclassed, but look closely at these stats. Fukanaga is a power puncher, fighting only 89 rounds in the course of his career. He has the ability to catch an unsuspecting Ioka. 

Fighter  Kazuto Ioka  Ryoji Fukunaga 
Ranking  #4 #12
Age 32 35
Height 5’4’’ 3’6’’
Reach 65’’ NA
Total Fights 29 19
Record 27-2 15-4
Knockouts 15, 51% 14, 73%
Stance Orthodox  Southpaw
Career

rounds

264 89
Inactivity  119 Days 88 Days 
Normal 

Weight Class

Super Fly Super Fly 
Boxing Trainer  Ismael Salas Kadoebi Boxing Gym 

It’s not so much that Fukanaga has more power than Ioka. Partly it’s the quality of the boxer he’s faced. Ioka has only gone the distance with the best in the world, such as his twelve rounder with Donnie Nietes. 

Fukunaga’s claim to fame is his seven round KO over Froilan Saludar, and a string of first and second round KO’s at the beginning of his pro career in 2013. 

How Does Ioka Fair Against Southpaws?

Both of Ioka’s losses have been to Orthodox fighters. He tends to fight to a decision with southpaws, such as Jeyvier Cintron, who was 11-0 before their 2019 bout. If an Over prop bet appears, I’d be betting it despite Fukanaga’s track record for quick finishes 

Comparing the Fighters Trainers

Ismael Salas is Ioka’s trainer, possibly one of the better boxing coaches alive. He’s currently working with Guillermo Rigondeaux so it’s unclear if he was with Ioka for this camp due to covid restrictions. Ioka posted photos of training with another trainer in July, so clearly he’s needed to expand his team since lockdown. 

Ryoji isn’t very public about his training or methods. Kadoebi boxing is a local gym that trains up many of the Japanese amatuer boxers and national competitors. Fighters like 17-0-2 Masayoshi Hashizume moved to Kadoebi in the last couple of years, and the gym continues to grow in capability. 

With Ioka’s loss of head coach, id’ say that the fighters current camps are about even, with a slight advantage to Ryoji. 

Betting Odds for Ioka vs Fukunaga

These odds are available at betonline.ag as of December 29th. 

Bet Odds and Payout per Dollar Wager
Kazuto Ioka Money Line -2000, $0.05
Ryoji Fukunaga Money Line +1000, $10.00

Ioka offers a nickel to Fukanaga’s ten times your money return. I know many bettors will jump on the long shot call just for fun, and I can see the motivation. Ioka’s had a new baby and has been doing more palates than boxing according to his Instagram
Fukanaga has a higher knockout percentage, and his power is undeniable. His gritty, inside boxing style has a chance against anyone. 

Will Prop Bets Offshore Become Available for Ioka vs Fukunaga

Due to the last minute nature of this bout, and the low likelihood of international interest, I don’t think we’ll see props. There could be an Over/Under at the end of the week before fight night, in which case focus on the Over. Ioka’s never knocked out a southpaw, and Fukunaga hasn’t been finished in over a decade. 

Boxing Analysis for Ioka vs Fukunaga

We’ll be focusing on the only question that matters; can Fukunaga give us an upset?
Fukunaga has an in close style of boxing, weighing heavy in the clench, while Ioka snipes form the outside, digging hard to the body early, and moving in and out of the pocket. 
Like many popular Japanese boxers, his liver shots are a thing of legend. 
In Ioka’s losses to Nietes and Ruenroeng, we see a few things in common. 

Ioka vs Nietes

This bout took place in 2018, just over three years ago. Nietes continues to fight the outside. He’s looking to draw Ioka out and counter punch, flicking the jab regularly. His patience and level changing hide his liver from Ioka’s body shots. Nietes wins a close split decision. Looking closely, we see that the jab won the fight. Nietes was up two rounds, landing twenty-six more jabs total due to his slipping and ducking work just outside of the pocket. 

Ioka vs Ruenroeng

The Ruenroeng fight took place in 2014. Ruenroeng showed Nietes exactly what he needed to do to Ioka, draw his jab out at range and counter punch. Roenroeng fought a dirty fight. He clenched, head dragged Ioka to the ropes, and jabbed at him to add to the frustration. Ruenroeng used the pull counter more than anything, but his reach advantage against Ioka helped to fight a reach centered, counter combination style, similar to Nietes’ win. 

Relevant Fight Tape for Ryoji Fukunaga 

The Fukunaga vs Saludar fight was where we started our betting analysis. The bout took place in 2020 and was easily the most decorated win of Fukunaga’s career, right alongside his recent win over the 15-0 (now 15-1) Hayate Kaji. 

Fukunaga vs Saludar

It doesn’t take long to see the weaknesses of Fukunaga. Looping shots from the outside, limited head movement in the pocket, and hands that are slow for a super flyweight. He gets the job done in the seventh round by simply trading shots. He opens himself up to Saludar inside the pocket after the fifth round, resting head to head and throwing shots. Not quite the Nietes strategy he’ll need for Ioka. 

Fukunaga vs Kaji

This fight is stunningly difficult to find. While Fukunaga looks more crafty, his punches still don’t look clean from the outside. I’m looking for a jab Fukunaga can hang his hat on for this fight. Everything is looping. He simply doesn’t put punches down the center line. 
Any hope I had for a Fukunaga upset is slipping away. 

Relevant Compubox Stats for Kazuto Ioka 

Ioka vs Nietes Compubox Stats 

Fighter  Total Punches Jabs Power Punches
Nietes  210/728 88/418 122/310
Ioka  186/765 62/411 124/354

Nietes fought this close bout, winning literally with his jab alone. 

Ioka vs Fukunaga Boxing Pick Wrap Up

If you’re new to boxing betting and want some clarity on this pick, start with our boxing guide.
Ioka is a fantastic champion, and I’d love to see him get the title unification before he retires. He has to take Ryoji seriously first. This fighter isn’t someone he can walk through, so I hope to see his A-game on Friday night. 
Look to parlay this bet alongside another definite win of the week, possibly a fight you like on the Triller or FITE cards through the weekend.  

Jacob Clark / Author

Jacob Clark had a 15 year career as a professional MMA fighter, coach, and Greg Jackson’s alum. Now, TikTok’s 12th most important BJJ influencer is bringing his sports and betting knowledge to you here at TheSportsGeek. He spends his time cooking vietnamese food and playing D&D with his family. You can meet him at jiu-jitsu open mats all over Indiana.

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