Kazuto Ioka-Joshua Franco: Stats & Stakes

The final big battle for 2022 is here, and it’s happening in a category that has served as often as any class in the sport over the past decade.

This year, it turns out that the golden age of Jr. Bantamweight is far from over. Japan’s New Year’s Eve results will set the stage for 2023 to continue. Two titles could become one here in a year when junior flyweight and light heavyweight unification bouts were all over the place.

It’s a pity that American TV is no longer available.

The match is engaging. In a year when Jesse Rodriguez scored headlines and votes for Fighter of the Year for his bantamweight performances as a junior, his older brother Joshua his Franco claimed the biggest win in his family in 2022. may be accommodated. , Traveling abroad in search of a chance for glory.

Kazuto Ioka has won belts in four weight classes for over ten years and is part of the title picture. In the process, he scored his double-digit wins against the division’s top ten ranked fighters. Ioka is one of the few fighters active in the sport, with Nonito he shares the feat with names such as Donaire, Romain Gonzalez, Naoya Inoue and Saul his Alvarez. They’re all bona fide Hall of Famers waiting to be inducted.

Ioca, who may partially consolidate in the Second Division this weekend, will not count him among the ranks as he will be eyeing a showdown with direct king Juan Francisco Estrada if he does so. I can’t stay. Can Ioka hone his credentials further this weekend, and can he bring his New Year’s Eve record to 10-1?

Let’s get into it.

Statistics and wagers

Kazuto Ioka

Year: 33

Current title: WBO Jr. Bantamweight (2019-present, 5 defenses)

Former title: WBC Minimumweight (2011-12, 3 defenses); WBA Minimumweight (2012); WBA Light Flyweight (2014*); WBA Flyweight (2016-17, 2 defenses)

height: 5’4 ½

weight: 115 lbs.

stance: orthodox

where one is from: Tokyo Japan

record: 29-2, 15 KOs

Press ranking: #2 (Ring, BoxRec), #2 (TBRB), #4 (ESPN)

Record of major title fights: 12 wins, 2 losses, 5 KOs (20 wins, 2 losses, 11 KOs, including WBA subtitle matches)

Last 5 Opponents: 118-9-7 (.907)

Notable results, TBRB and/or ring-rated adversaries: Oleydong Sithsamerchai TKO5; Akira Yaegashi UD12; Felix Alvarado UD12; Juan Carlos Rebeco MD12, TKO11; McWilliams Arroyo UD10; Rodriguez Jr. UD12

Additional current/previous title list facing: Juan Hernandez UD 12; Amnat Ruenroeng L12

*Ioka won subversion WBA belts at junior flyweight and flyweight, but was promoted when primary titlelists Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada each vacated those belts. The date of the title reign reflects these movements.


Joshua Franco

Year: 27

Title: WBA Super Flyweight (2022-present, 1st defense*)

Former title: none

height: 5’4

weight: 114 ¾ lbs.

stance: orthodox

where one is from: San Antonio, Texas

record: 18-1-2, 8KO, 1KOBY

Press ranking: #5 (Ring), #7 (ESPN)

Record in major title fights: 1st Title match (2-0, 1 no contest including subtitle match)

Last 5 Opponents: 98-6-1 (.938)

Notable results, TBRB and/or ring-rated adversaries: Andrew Moloney UD12, NC2, UD12

Additional current/previous title list facing: none

*Joshua won the WBA subtitle in the 2020 division from Andrew Moloney in 2020, defending it twice. He was promoted to the primary WBA title list.

pick: It’s hard to see where this fight can go unnoticed. Both men are well-trained mod-range fighters who throw heavy leather on their bodies. Franco has a better uppercut and can put together some clever combinations.Ioka is more experienced and more active. Franco is younger and probably has less career wear.

This might look like a battle between Ioka and Donnie Nietes. Became first with more accurate attacks and won second. Japan feels less controversial to score than anywhere else, but being at home doesn’t hurt in a battle that looks like a close one.

Rollpick 2022: 59-17

Cliff Rold is Editor-in-Chief of BoxingScene, Founding Member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, Member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. You can contact him at roldboxing@hotmail.com.

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