Former world champ Kazuto Ioka retires at age 28

Kazuto Ioka, who won world titles in three weight divisions and was one of Japan's best fighters in recent years, has announced his retirement from boxing.

The 28-year-old Ioka (22-1, 13 KOs), who won world titles at flyweight, junior flyweight and unified two belts at strawweight during an eight-year pro career, announced his retirement at a news conference on New Year's Event in Yokohama, Japan, site of a world title doubleheader the previous day.

"I'm satisfied with myself because I could win (world titles) in three classes, which is also the reason why I started boxing," Ioka said at the news conference in translated remarks.

Ioka, viewed by many as the No. 1 flyweight in the world at the time of his announcement, also thanked his fans, saying, "I think I'm here now because of your support, and I want to express my greatest appreciation."

Ioka won the Japanese national strawweight title in his sixth professional fight and in his seventh fight he claimed a strawweight world title by fifth-round knockout of Oleydong Sithsamerchai in February 2011.

Ioka made three title defense, including a unanimous decision victory against countryman Akira Yaegashi in June 2012 to unify two belts.

Then Ioka moved up to junior flyweight and knocked out Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in the sixth round in his debut in the division to win a vacant world title. Ioka defended the belt three times before vacating to move up to flyweight.

He debuted in the flyweight division in May 2014 and suffered his only loss, a split decision challenging then-world titlist Amnat Ruenroeng for his belt.

In April 2014, Ioka got an opportunity to challenge flyweight world titlist Juan Carlos Reveco and won the belt by majority decision. Ioka made five title defenses before vacating the title early November when his father and trainer, Kazunori Ioka, announced he was not ready to defend the belt because he had not been training following his marriage to Japanese pop singer Nana Tanimura.

Ioka finishes his career with a record of 14-1 in world title bouts.