Cataraja hopes for Ioka title shot

Edri Aznar
·2 min read

KJ Cataraja wants a shot at World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight king Kazuto Ioka after the latter’s impressive win over Kosei Tanaka on New Year’s Eve.

“He really got Kosei first. If I get chosen this year to fight him, then it should be a good one. I’m excited. I hope it will happen,” Cataraja told SunStar Cebu.

Ioka dropped Tanaka once each in the fifth and sixth rounds before stopping him with a left hook in the eighth round at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan on Dec. 31, 2020.

Cataraja is currently rated No. 12 in the WBO super flyweight division and is eligible to be chosen by Ioka as a challenger in a voluntary title defense.

“If that happens, that will be my greatest challenge. It would be like fighting (Donnie) Nietes because they have very similar fighting styles,” said Cataraja.

The 25-year-old native of Tabuelan, Cebu is coming off a huge win over former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario. Cataraja knocked out Apolinario in the opening round of their scheduled 10-rounder in the main event of Sanman Promotions and ZIP’s “Vengeance” bubble boxing show at the Sanman Gym in General Santos City on Dec. 17, 2020.

Cataraja is Tanaka’s friend after spending time as sparring partners in Japan for quite some time in 2019.

“I’m not only avenging Kosei but also I really want to be a world champion,” said Cataraja.

Cataraja is optimistic that he’ll be already campaigning in Japan in 2021 and will be training in Tanaka’s gym.

After the closure of ALA Promotions and the ALA Gym, Cataraja signed a managerial contract with Japan-based ZIP and a promotional partnership with Sanman Promotions, one of the country’s hottest boxing promotional outfits.

Cataraja has an impressive record of 12-0 with 10 knockouts.

Ioka did his mandatory title defense against Tanaka and will not have his mandatory title defense in nine months. He, however, has the option to fight a voluntary title defense in between that nine-month span and Cataraja could be a possible choice.