By Joe Koizumi
Former WBA interim flyweight champ Koki Eto (24-5-1, 19 KOs), 32, announced to hang up gloves for good after an eleven-year career. A tall 5’8.5” flyweight Koki was one of three Eto brothers along with his twin Daiki and younger brother Shingo, and only Koki seized a world belt even though it was just an interim one.
Koki, despite his gifted physique, wasn’t a skillful boxer but a willing mixer who loved swapping punches to overwhelm his usually shorter rival in the close range, and wasn’t good at coping with such a Fancy Dan with a good footwork as Mexican Carlos Cuadras whose WBC 115-pound belt Koki couldn’t wrest though stalking all night here in 2015.
It was in Bangkok, Thailand that Eto halted a notorious losing streak of Japanese challengers attempting to win world belts in the country of Buddha when he scored a come-from-behind dramatic knockdown of Kompayak Porpramook in the last session to earn a close but unanimous verdict (114-113 twice, 116-111). His reign lasted less than four months since he yielded his WBA interim belt to another Thailander Yodmongkol CP Freshmart via twelfth-round stoppage in Chonburi, Thailand.
Reviewing his gallant footstep with full of ups and downs, he experienced another hard luck in Kissimmee, Florida, in May 2019. The game puncher Koki faced unbeaten ex-Olympian Jeyvier Cintron for the vacant WBO international 115-pound belt and scored a stunning first round knockout in the eliminator for #1.
The video replay, however, proved that Cintron collapsed chiefly by an accidental headbutt and partly by Eto’s solid overhand right. The result was unfortunately overturned to no decision, and they participated in a grudge fight with Koki lopsidedly beaten by a very unanimous decision (all 99-90) in the same Kissimmee in less than three months since. It became Koki Eto’s final appearance.
Koki had been handled by ex-WBA junior flyweight titlist Yoko Gushiken who registered thirteen defenses to his credit, but Yoko closed his gym this June, which might cause Eto’s farewell to the squared circle. He was a game crowd-pleaser as people always loved his fighting spirit.