Ioka And Franco Agree To Unify In Annual Japan December Closeout Bout!

Ioka v Franco to Wrap-up 2022 in Tokyo!

Kazuto Ioka and Joshua Franco agree to a New Year's Eve unification
Kazuto Ioka (L, Credit: Japan Times), Joshua Franco (Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Kazuto Ioka v Joshua Franco December Unification Bout Announced!

3Kings Boxing previously reported that WBO champion Kazuto Ioka (29-2, 15 KOs) and WBA regular champion Joshua Franco (18-2-2-1 8 KOs) were deep in negotiations for a junior bantamweight unification clash for December of this year. Here’s the latest update on those proceedings.

During the recent WBO convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, it was revealed the two combatants have agreed to terms. Additionally, the sanctioning body has approved the bout. It will occur on December 31 in Tokyo, Japan. This matchup falls in line with what has become a yearly happening in Japan where at least one of their world champions will make a title defense to close out the year.

In this instance, it happens to be Ioka, one of the great fighters that Japan has produced during this generation. A four-division champion, the 33-year-old is considered by hardcore heads an elite fighter in the lower-weight ranks.

He will be facing Franco, the older brother of ex-WBC 115-pound champion Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez. The WBA champ is coming off a three-fight trilogy with Andrew Moloney, the man he defeated to win the title in June of 2022.


This has the makings of a competitive battle. The WBO champ’s skillset and boxing brain are on par with anyone in the sport. Ioka can adapt to any style and does whatever is necessary to win. Franco’s modus operandi is one of being an educated pressure fighter. The 27-year-old is adept at cutting off the ring. He’s also a highly-skilled inside-fighter and strong as a bull for the division.

Ioka wants to accomplish his goal of being a unified champion in 2022. A win would add more to what is an already sterling resume. Franco is looking to show that he deserves mention as one of the elites in the lower-weight ranks.

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W. 1840 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for