Ioka Outclasses Franco To Claim WBA Championship!

Ioka Show His Class in Rematch Win Over Franco

Kazuto Ioka defeats Joshua Franco to win the WBA title
Kazuto Ioka defeats Joshua Franco to win the WBA title | credit: Kyodo

Kazuto Ioka Takes WBA Title in Victory Over Joshua Franco


At the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan, the highly-anticipated rematch took place between Joshua Franco and Kazuto Ioka. The two previously fought in December 2022 in what was a junior bantamweight unification contest. Following twelve spirited rounds, the bout ended in a draw.

At the time of their first encounter, Franco was the WBA champion and Ioka was the WBO champion. But a lot has changed. Upset with his performance, Ioka gave up the WBO belt for the sole purpose of fighting Franco again.

This bout was supposed to be for the WBA title. However, Franco was stripped of the title after coming in grossly overweight during the pre-fight weigh-in. So there was a serious cloud of controversy hovering over this rematch.

ON A MISSION

Ioka made a concerted effort to focus on Franco’s body in the early rounds. A sharp right-hand counter shot staggered Franco in round two.

Ioka is one of the most intelligent fighters you will ever see. A four-division champion, the 34-year-old did an excellent job punching between the shots of Franco, who was cut over his right eye in the fifth.

Franco began to find some success in the seventh and eighth. But Ioka put the foot on the gas and began to pour on the pressure in the ninth. At one moment during that round, Ioka taunted his opponent, who was bleeding heavily from the cut over his eye. The veteran was in control by this point of the fight and doing beautiful work. After Ioka took the tenth round off, he picked it up in the championship rounds and tagged Franco with clean, sharp punches to the head and body.

It was a terrific performance by Ioka, who won by unanimous decision (115-113, 116-112, 116-112) to capture the WBA title. During the post-fight interview, the winner called for a unification fight at 115.

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About Mike W.2017 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.