Kazuto Ioka (30-2-1, 15 KOs) claimed a unanimous decision victory today against Joshua Franco (18-2-3, 8 KOs, 1 NC) in Tokyo, Japan. With the win, he is once again super flyweight champion as he picked up the WBA title in the process. Despite dominating, the scores seemed a touch close as the two judges had it 116-112 while the third scored the contest 115-113.
Franco previously held the WBA belt but lost it on the scales as he came roughly six pounds over the limit. The two had met previously on New Year’s Eve in a fight that ended in a draw. That bout had the WBA and WBO titles on the line. Ioka chose to vacate his WBO title in order to pursue a rematch with Franco.
With the win, Ioka is now a two-time super flyweight champion. Additionally, he is a four division world champion having previously won titles at minimumweight, light flyweight, and flyweight.
Attention now turns towards Ioka’s next potential fight. After dealing with an unusually high number of mandatories while he was WBO super flyweight champion, fight fans will hope that his next fight will see him unify against one of Juan Francisco Estrada, Junto Nakatani, and Fernando Martinez.
Franco vs. Ioka 2 recap
Ioka had most of the success in the early rounds as he landed the heavier shots. In the second round, he staggered Franco and proceeded to walk him down. Despite being stunned, Franco was able to recover quickly. The fourth round was better for Franco as Ioka dropped his punch output. That drop was temporary, however, as Ioka let his hands go to have a very active fifth round. It was a round where Franco was able to land heavy shots, but they were few and far between as Ioka claimed the fifth with greater activity.
In round seven, Ioka was able to back Franco up with relentless body work. Franco also began to bleed from a cut on the outside of his right eye in this round. In the later rounds, blood continued to trickle as Franco struggled to deal with Ioka’s clean power shots. As the rounds went on, Franco’s chances of winning diminished as Ioka continued to outbox him. Ioka continued to assert his dominance till the final bell as he went on to win a unanimous decision.