On December 31 Ioka Kazuto retained his WBO super-flyweight title with an eighth spherical TKO over Tanaka Kosei in an occasion that passed off contained in the Ota Metropolis Basic Gymnasium in Tokyo. Nonetheless, the now 26-2 Ioka took the combat understanding he was nearly sure to face some type of punishment for one thing that has nothing to do together with his actions contained in the ring.
BoxingScene reports that, throughout his combat with Tanaka, Ioka violated a Japanese Boxing Fee (JBC) rule on seen tattoos.
Between his final combat, a unanimous resolution win over Jeyvier Cintron in 2019, and this most up-to-date combat Ioka acquired a full sleeve of tattoos on his left arm. He additionally had some kanji script inked on his left rib space.
Among the many JBC’s guidelines is that nationwide boxers with “a tattoo or different markings that makes the viewers really feel uncomfortable” shall not be permitted to compete in a boxing occasion.
Previous to his most up-to-date combat Ioka mentioned that rule and the way absurd he believes it’s. “For me in boxing, the fee asks me to [conceal] it earlier than I enter the ring. But it surely actually is senseless and it has nothing to do with boxing, so I hope to chip away at this rule.”
“People who find themselves watching boxing are targeted on the motion within the ring, not the tattoos they [see],” continued Ioka. “Then there are worldwide boxers who reside in Japan and combat for gyms right here which have tattoos and they’re allowed to combat with out having to [conceal] as a result of they’re foreigners.
“So, it’s an ungainly as nicely and inconsistent rule. If they will ban it, then they need to ban it for all fighters, Japanese and foreigners.”
By means of it’s sources BoxingScene has realized that Ioka, who has a substantial nationwide profile in Japanese boxing, is more likely to obtain a ‘strict warning’ for his tattoos. Nonetheless, probably the most extreme punishment for seen tattoos outlined within the JBC’s rulebook is an indefinite license suspension.
The JBC’s guidelines don’t prolong to Japanese fighters competing abroad. And Iota has acknowledged that he’s hoping he can enhance his worldwide notoriety by reserving his subsequent fights in the USA.
Tattoos, or irezumi, have been controversial in Japan because the formation of the nation. Tattoos have been generally sported by the Ainu, an Indigenous group from what’s now Hokkaido. The Ainu have been subjugated by the Japanese within the 14th century.
Tattoos have been outlawed by Japan within the Meiji Interval, which started in 1868, a interval that noticed a rise in cultural genocide practises focusing on the Ainu. That interval additionally noticed the annexation of the Ryukyu Kingdom, a kingdom that stretched over an island chain close to Okinawa. Tattoos have been additionally a part of Ryukyua tradition.
On mainland Japan, tattoos have lengthy been related to the Yakuza; Japan’s 400 12 months previous organized legal class. Membership in a Yakuza clan usually features a full physique tattoo. Nonetheless, many non-criminals have worn tattoos throughout Japanese historical past. For instance, Edo Interval fireplace fighters wore full physique tattoos to grant non secular safety in opposition to flames.
In fashionable Japan the tattoo stays a well-liked (and undeserving) image of criminality and undesirability. When seen alongside fight sports activities, an enviornment in Japan that has often been marred by Yakuza influence, tattoos trigger elevated animus amongst sanctioning and legislative our bodies.