Ioka Seeking Redemption Against Franco In Rematch This June

Joshua Franco vs Kazuto Ioka II Heading to Tokyo In June

Kazuto Ioka vs Joshua Franco II set for June in Tokyo
Kazuto Ioka (L), Joshua Franco (credit: Kyte Monroe/Box Stats)

Kazuto Ioka To Rematch Joshua Franco in Tokyo on June 24


The rematch between WBA junior bantamweight champion Joshua Franco (18-1-3, 8 KOs) and four-division champion Kazuto Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KOs) is a done deal. According to the San Antonio Express-News, the bout will occur on June 24 in Tokyo, Japan. In February 2023, 3kingsboxing.com reported that the two fighters were negotiating to fight each other again.

TAKING A LOOK BACK

Franco and Ioka previously fought in December 2022 in a 115-pound unification contest, as Ioka was the then-WBO junior bantamweight champion. The bout ended in a disputed split decision draw. More than a few observers felt that Franco did enough to win.

Ioka is a star in his home country of Japan. The 34-year-old is one of the most accomplished fighters in the lower-weight divisions and a future Hall Of Famer. But he struggled against Franco, who was in top form.

The WBA champion took the fight to Ioka. Franco controlled the spacing, won the battle of the jabs, and was the physically stronger and fresher fighter. Ioka looked uncomfortable throughout and never found his rhythm. Afterward, the Japanese warrior admitted it was not his best performance.

NOT SATISFIED

For this rematch to happen, Ioka gave up the WBO title rather than go ahead with an ordered fight with then-mandatory challenger Junto Nakatani. That move was evidence of how disappointed Ioka was with how he fought against Franco. It’s clear he intends to prove that once and for all he’s the superior fighter.

Usually a master boxer, can Ioka raise his game in the upcoming rematch, or is he a fighter on the decline? Does Franco have a fighting style that Ioka just can’t solve? For hardcore fans, this is a must-see fight.

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About Mike W.1990 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.