Connect with us


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.

Pride will be on the line when Kazuto Ioka and Joshua Franco renew their rivalry on June 24 at Tokyo's Ota City General Gymnasium.

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..

Ioka retained his WBO title, but then vacated it in February after the World Boxing Organization ordered him to face mandatory challenger Junto Nakatani.

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]."

Kazuto Ioka (ⒸSANKEI)

Take a Food Journey Around the World!

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

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven.


Receive regular sports updates and news directly in your inbox

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Advertisement MTB Free Shipping $99+

Subscribe to Our Newsletter


Receive regular sports updates and news directly in your inbox

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

More in Boxing