Kazuto Ioka is once again at the mercy of his local commission.

A drug test surrounding Ioka’s 8th round knockout win of countryman Kosei Tanaka to defend his WBO junior bantamweight title last New Year’s Eve at Tokyo’s Ota-City Gymnasium. The Mainichi Shimbun—a leading newspaper in Japan—reported that Ioka tested for cannabis, with the sample having been examined at length as part of an ongoing investigation with the National Police Agency as well as the Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC).

Masanao Hattori, Ioka’s lawyer informed members of the media in Japan that Tokyo’s Ioka has fully cooperated with the investigation, which the attorney believes to have concluded and with the boxer cleared of any charges. The understanding is that the four-division champion is cleared of any wrongdoing, although his boxing status will be determined by JBC, whom Ioka’s legal team expects to publicly address the issue in the near future.

Representatives from Ioka’s immediate team declined comment to BoxingScene.com given the matter is still under review.

An official statement from his attorney “strongly denies he has ever used” any form of cannabis, suggesting that perhaps the substance was found due to the boxer’s use of CBD oil.

Ioka (26-2, 15KOs) became the first-ever male boxer from Japan to win major titles in four weight divisions, making such history following a 10th round knockout of Aston Palicte in June 2019. The feat saw Ioka win the WBO junior bantamweight title after having enjoyed title reigns at strawweight, junior flyweight and flyweight. Tanaka (15-1, 9KOs) was looking to join his countryman on that stage, with his own goal of becoming the fastest in boxing history to accomplish the feat.

The career-best win by Ioka has come with its share of controversy. In addition to the current drug testing investigation, the 32-year-old was forced to appear before the JBC due to fighting with visible tattoos, which is frowned upon as it relates to boxing in Japan. The JBC rules state that national boxers with “a tattoo or other markings that makes the audience feel uncomfortable" shall not be permitted to compete in a boxing event.

Ioka was disciplined in the form of a stern warning issued by the no-nonsense commission.

Plans for Ioka’s next ring appearance remain under discussion. There has been talk of making his way back to the United States, where he appeared once before in a Sept. 2018 unanimous decision win over McWilliams Arroyo—a win which saw Ioka return to the ring after abruptly retiring in late 2017.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox