Kazuto Ioka, Joshua Franco Set for Rematch on June 24
After fighting to a majority draw on New Year's Eve, Kazuto Ioka will meet his American opponent for the second time with only one title on the line this time.
Shisei Boxing Gym, where Ioka trains, announced details of the rematch on Monday, April 24.
Their New Year's Eve super flyweight unification title bout ended in a majority draw at the same venue. Franco (18-1-3, eight knockouts) retained his WBA title after two judges scored the 12-round bout 114-114. Stanley Christodoulou decided in favor of Franco (115-113) on December 31, 2022..
Instead of taking on 25-year–old Japanese compatriot Nakatani (24-0, 18 KOs), Ioka will meet Franco, a 27-year-old American, again.
"Fighting a title defense was not an option for us at all," 34-year-old Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KOs) was quoted as saying by Kyodo News. "The point is to carry on the fight from last year in the next bout and settle the matter with [Franco]."
Ioka Fired Up to Face Franco Again
Ioka, the first Japanese boxers to win world titles in four weight classes (he previously held mini-flyweight, light flyweight and flyweight titles), wants closure with Franco before he thinks about facing another fighter.
"I badly want to face Franco. I am determined to show that I will beat Franco to become the new champion," Ioka insisted at Monday's news conference, according to Boxing News.
"Unless it is a direct rematch (with Franco), it doesn’t have much meaning for me. I know it will be a harder fight than the one I had last time."
Nakatani Awaits Title Bout
So what's next for Nakatani?
He'll take on 32-year-old Australian Andrew Moloney (25-2, 16 KOs) for the vacant WBO title on May 20 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Author: Ed Odeven