Kazuto Ioka: ‘I do not really feel threatened by Joshua Franco’


Kazuto Ioka. Photograph credit score: Naoki Fukuda

Final December, then-WBO junior bantamweight titlist Kazuto Ioka and WBA ruler Joshua Franco fought one another to a majority draw of their unification bout. Each males have been solely too completely happy to run it by once more and can meet at Ota-Metropolis Common Gymnasium, in Tokyo, on Saturday.

Ioka, The Ring’s No. 2-rated junior bantamweight, needed to vacate his WBO title to allow a second go-around in opposition to Franco.

“I’ve not been happy with the results of the final match in opposition to Josh,” Ioka (29-2-1, 15 knockouts) advised The Ring by Yusuke Ninomiya. “Even when I had to surrender the WBO title, I strongly hoped to have a rematch with him to determine the winner between the 2 of us.”

The Japanese standout wasn’t stunned by something Franco did final day out and has spent the previous six months making ready for his or her second battle.

“He was the boxer I had imagined within the final match,” he mentioned. “I don’t really feel threatened by him.

“After analyzing the outcomes of the earlier match, I wish to win clearly this time.”

The 34-year-old sharpshooter, who has gained main titles in 4 weight lessons, having initially gained titles at strawweight, moved as much as junior flyweight earlier than including extra {hardware} at flyweight. He retired for a interval earlier than returning and having fun with additional success at junior bantamweight.

Ioka nonetheless has a want to be nice and hopes so as to add Franco’s WBA title to his assortment after which push towards a long-discussed unification.

“I wish to present my boxing to the followers by profitable this match,” he defined.

“Profitable this match needs to be the ticket to the massive match in opposition to [The Ring champion and WBC titleholder Juan Francisco] Estrada that I’ve been wanting for thus lengthy.”

Franco (18-1-3, 8 KOs), The Ring’s No. 4-rated junior bantamweight, turned skilled in 2015. The Texan was extremely regarded earlier than being upset by Lucas Fernandez (L TKO 9) in March 2018. He turned extra battle-hardened, sharing 30 grueling rounds with Oscar Negrete (D 10, SD 10 and D 10).

That have served the 27-year-old nicely when he beat Andrew Moloney two out of 3 times (UD 12, ND 2, UD 12). As WBA “common” titleholder (a title unrecognized by The Ring), he waited patiently to face Estrada however when that didn’t occur, the WBA stripped the Mexican and promoted Franco to full titleholder. He snapped a 16-and-a-half-month hiatus to face Ioka final day out.

The primary combat was shut and largely depended whether or not you most popular Ioka’s accuracy or Franco’s quantity. Ioka could have the well-regarded Ismael Salas in his nook, whereas Franco trains out of Robert Garcia’s gymnasium underneath his son Roberto’s tutelage. It will likely be fascinating to see which group has made the higher changes forward of this match-up. It figures to be one other ultra-competitive conflict of types.



Questions and/or feedback may be despatched to Anson at [email protected] and you may observe him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.



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