Takada stops Hasebe in 6th round, wins vacant Japan minimumweight title
Apr 27, 2023 1:34 am
Apr 24, 2023 21:35 pm
Former World Boxing Organization super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka of Shisei Boxing Gym will challenge World Boxing Association super flyweight kingpin Joshua Franco of the United States for the latter’s title on June 24 at Tokyo’s Ota City General Gymnasium, Ioka said on Apr. 24.
Speaking before a group of reporters in Tokyo, the 34-year-old Ioka said he wanted to face Franco directly after they fought to a majority draw in their title unification fight last Dec. 31 at the same place.
While the WBO requested Ioka to take on WBO’s top-ranked super flyweight and fellow countryman Junto Nakatani of M.T Boxing Gym in his next defense of the title (he won in June 2019), Ioka relinquished his title as he was looking for a direct rematch with Franco.
Ioka said, ‘’I badly want to face Franco. I am determined to show that I will beat Franco to become the new champion.’’
‘’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.’’ He added.
In their first fight, one of the three judges scored the fight 115-113 for Franco, while the remaining two had it 114-114, respectively.
The 27-year-old Franco said via online he himself has wanted to have a rematch with Ioka because their first fight was a good fight. Though the upcoming fight will not be a title unification fight, Franco said he is highly motivated and has been training harder.
Ioka, Japan’s only four-division world champion, has a record of 29 wins, including 15 knockouts, against two losses and a draw, while Franco has an 18-1-3 win-loss-draw tally with eight KOs.
The scheduled 12-rounder will be shown by way of Abema PPV instead of the hitherto TBS Television, organizers said.