Former three-division world champion Kazuto Ioka has announced his retirement from the sport at just 28 years old.
In a press conference, Ioka said he's happy with how his career has turned out, which includes four world titles and a near-perfect 22-1 professional record.
"I'm satisfied with myself because I could win in three classes, which is also the reason why I started boxing. I think I'm here now because of [the fans'] support, and I want to express my greatest appreciation," Ioka said.
Ioka started his professional career in 2009, capturing the WBC minimumweight title in just his seventh fight. He then beat Akira Yaegashi to unify the WBC and WBA titles at 105 pounds. Ioka moved up in weight in 2012 and won the WBA light flyweight title before moving onto the flyweight division where he unsuccessfully challenged for the IBF flyweight title in 2014. Ioka finally captured the flyweight world title when he beat Juan Carlos Reveco to win the WBA title in 2015.
There had been rumors of a rift between Ioka and his father Kazunori Ioka, who also trains Kazuto, because of Kazuto's marriage to singer Nana Tanimura. Back in November, Kazunori told a news conference that Kazuto had been scheduled to defend his title on the traditional December 31 boxing card in Japan, but Kazuto would not be ready because he has not been able to keep up his training after getting married earlier this year. Kazuto said the marriage has not impacted the decision.
"I haven't felt any influence fighting since we've been together. My wife's presence itself was my support," Kazuto said.
Ioka defended his title five times, last fighting on April 23, 2017 when he beat Noknoi Sitthiprasert in Osaka, Japan.