Ioka On Franco: “I Don’t Feel Threatened; I Want To Win Clearly This Time”

Ioka Putting his All into his Rematch with Joshua Franco

Kazuto Ioka looking to dominate Joshua Franco in their rematch
Kazuto Ioka (L), Joshua Franco | credit: Naoki Fukuda

Kazuto Ioka Seeking a Dominant Performance in Upcoming Joshua Franco Rematch


Japan’s Kazuto Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KOs) is the definition of focused just days away from his June 24 rematch with the WBA junior bantamweight champion Joshua Franco (18-1-3, 8 KOs) in Tokyo, Japan. Ioka looks at this upcoming contest as his chance to rectify what he felt went wrong in their first bout.

They previously fought in December 2022 in a unification contest. At the time, Ioka was the reigning WBO champion. After twelve challenging and competitive rounds, the bout ended in a majority decision draw.

HIGHLY MOTIVATED

It was an unsatisfactory outcome for Ioka, who wanted an immediate rematch. With an ordered title defense against then-mandatory challenger Junto Nakatani looming, Ioka decided to vacate the WBO strap just to get a second chance to fight Franco. During an interview with RingTV, Ioka spoke of the disappointment of the fight last December.

“I have not been satisfied with the result of the last match against Josh. Even if I had to give up the WBO title, I strongly hoped to have a rematch with him to decide the winner between the two of us.”

Ioka is a four-division world champion with a high boxing IQ. Many insiders felt his skills and boxing brain would be the difference in their first battle. But Franco set the tone early and made Ioka uncomfortable throughout.

Feeling that Franco didn’t do anything surprising, Ioka believes that he didn’t fight up to his standards. He plans to be much improved this time and is confident he will win.

“I don’t feel threatened by him. After analyzing the results of the previous match, I would like to win clearly this time . . . I want to show my boxing to the fans by winning this match.”

Ioka hopes a win leads to a showdown with Juan Francisco Estrada. But first, he must take care of business against Franco in what should be another terrific battle.

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About Mike W.2018 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.