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Joshua Franco Badly Overweight- Stripped Of WBA Title

Joshua Franco Badly Overweight- Stripped Of WBA Title

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Joshua Franco Badly Overweight- Stripped Of WBA Title

Mikey Williams- Top Rank

Joshua Franco Badly Overweight- Stripped Of WBA Title

Friday’s weigh in for the Joshua Franco-Kazuto Ioka WBA junior bantamweight showdown for Saturday night in Tokyo, Japan was sent into chaos. This after the champ Franco was horrendously over the 115 lb. weight limit and has now been stripped of his belt.

The 27 year old Franco, who had a controversial draw to Ioka last New Year’s Eve in Japan, stepped on the scale and weighed over 121 lb. for the scheduled 12 round defense. That meant he had no hope on retry of making the 115 lb. limit at junior bantamweight. For his part, Ioka was under the limit at 114 3/4 pounds.

So, predictably, the WBA did what most championship organizations do in this situation and stripped Franco of the belt, while still allowing the Japanese challenger to have a chance to win it in the ring Saturday.

As for the Texas native Franco, 18-1-3, 8 KOs, his trainer Roberto Garcia made comments on social media about his fighter being so badly overweight Friday afternoon,

Clearly, Franco’s team knew well in advance that he was nowhere near the limit for junior bantamweight and the only question was whether Ioka, 29-2-1, 15 KOs, would go along with him being some much significantly heavier at weigh in and still fight him Saturday night? As Garcia referenced above, that’s what happened, in no small part because Ioka still gets his purse, presumably part of Franco’s as a penalty and is still fighting for the WBA world title.

Our insider Dan Rafael learned overnight (U.S. time) into Friday morning that Franco’s second attempt at losing some weight yielded only a half pound or so difference.

An interesting comparison and another “weight headache” for the WBA was late last month’s WBA world featherweight title rematch fight in Manchester, England, where champ Mauricio Lara was 3.8 pounds over the featherweight limit in fighting Leigh Wood. Similarly to the Franco situation, Lara was stripped and Wood was still allowed to fight for the title, having made the 126 lb. weight.

One difference is that the British Boxing Board of Control had told Lara days prior to the fight that he was so significantly overweight that due to health concerns for the bout, he could not attempt to try to get down to 126 lb. or they would not license him to fight. Lara complied, the fight went on and Wood dominated him by decision to regain his belt.

Back to Franco and Ioka, clearly the Japanese commission and the WBA had a decision to make and it’s clearly unfair to Ioka, who made weight Friday, to simply call the fight off. It’s not clear if there was also a rehydration restriction put on Franco for Saturday and a “second weigh-in.” However, that is common in these kind of situations.

So, the bout will go on with Ioka attempting to regain a world title at junior bantamweight (he vacated the WBO version to have this rematch) and with Franco clearly disgraced for being so badly negligent in training and watching his weight.

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A veteran broadcaster of over 25 years, T.J. has been a fight fan longer than that! He’s the host of the “Big Fight Weekend” podcast and will go “toe to toe” with anyone who thinks that Marvin Hagler beat Sugar Ray Leonard or that Tyson, Lennox Lewis or Deontay Wilder could have beaten Ali!

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