Kazuto Ioka vs Joshua Franco Draw Does Not Result In A Winner
Becoming a unified champion was the goal for WBO super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KOs) and WBA super champ Joshua Franco (18-1-3, 8 KOs) as they battled it out at the Ota-City Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
It has been long established that Ioka has been one of the best boxers in this sport for the last decade. The 33-year-old has won world titles in four different weight classes and was on a mission to add to what is an already stellar resume.
He faced a Franco who has been largely overlooked in what is a loaded division. But the WBA champ takes a backseat to no one. Despite coming into this bout off a sixteen-month layoff, the 27-year-old was hungry to prove that he was the man to beat at 115 pounds.
NOT WHAT MANY EXPECTED
In previewing the fight, it was noted that if Franco could get his job going, he would be in good stead. That was indeed the case. The WBA champ was the aggressor and was outstanding with his jab, forcing Ioka to fight on the back foot. The WBO champ was able to land with some counter-punches. However, his shots had no effect.
It was clear that Franco was stronger physically. He was sharp as a tack, economical, and controlled the action during the first half of the fight.
Ioka tried to change gears and threw more in the middle rounds. However, Franco was matching him at every turn. The pride of San Antonio, Texas continued to push the local hero backward. Franco poured it on in the championship rounds and finished the fight as the fresher fighter.
Conversely, the scorecards told a different story as the judges ruled the contest a majority decision draw (115-113 Franco, 114-114×2). 3kingsBoxing.com felt Franco’s work was more effective and should’ve gotten him the decision.
Before this fight, Ioka talked of aspirations of becoming an undisputed champion at super flyweight in 2023. Based on this performance, many would like to see a rematch with Franco first.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.