by Nick Giongco
Aston Palicte will set up camp in Baguio City as he revs up for his showdown with Japanese Kazuto Ioka for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) superflyweight crown on June 19 either in Osaka or Chiba in Japan.
The decision to head to the City of Pines was arrived at following the formal announcement of the scheduled 12-rounder by Palicte’s promotional outfit owned by legendary American fighter Roy Jones Jr.
The exact location of the Palicte-Ioka showdown the WBO 115-lb title is being disputed by Edion Arena Osaka and Makuhari Messe in Chiba, venues that can hold as much as 8,000 spectators.
Palicte , the top-rated contender, has a 25-2-1 win-loss-draw record with 21 KOs, while Ioka, who will be gunning for his fourth world title in as many divisions, has a 23-2 card with 13 KOs.
The division was left vacant after Donnie Nietes relinquished it after being mandated to face Palicte, who he had drawn against last year.
Nietes feels that there was no point proving his mastery over Palicte, a fellow puncher from Negros Occidental, on the strength of his performance the first time they collided in September last year.
Palicte earned the right to fight for the title after demolishing Puerto Rican Jose Martinez last February.
Ioka got his title shot on the basis of his strong showing against Nietes in the battle for the same championship on New Year’s Eve 2018 in Macau.
Palicte is looking forward to his second shot at a world title.
“I’d first like to thank my promoters (Keith Veltre & Roy Jones, Jr.) and manager (Jason Soong) for making this fight happen,” Palicte said in a statement. “Since a rematch with Nietes will probably never take place, going against Ioka, who lost to him via a split decision, is probably the closest thing to redeeming myself after that draw. We’ve already planned out our training camp, which includes altitude training in Baguio,” added Palicte.