Joshua Franco vs. Kazuto Ioka 2: Fight card, start time, date

All there is to be known about this weekend's Title Boxing Rematch out of Japan.

By: June M. Williams | 3 months ago
Joshua Franco vs. Kazuto Ioka 2: Fight card, start time, date
Boxing: Ioka-Franco title unification bout WBO super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (R) of Japan and WBA titleholder Joshua Franco of the United States fight in the ninth round of their title unification boxing match on Dec. 31, 2022, at Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo. | IMAGO Images

Joshua Franco vs. Kazuto Ioka 2 Preview

Joshua ‘El Profesor’ Franco goes toe-to-toe with Kazuto Ioka for their rematch this Saturday morning, June 24, 2023 while Juan Francisco Estrada is still out of the picture for the moment. This battle is for the WBA (Regular) Title in a 12-round Super Flyweight bout which is the headlining feature for the ‘Lifetime Boxing Fights 15‘ event.

Franco (18-1-3, 8 KO) outstruck Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KO) in their first tangle, which was a 12-round unification match back on New Year’s Eve, which resulted in a majority draw; with both men retaining their titles. The next item on the docket for Ioka was a title defense match against Junto Nakatani, a former flyweight titlist, who was literally the mandatory challenger.

Despite this being the obvious set up, Kazuto Ioka (Ring ranked #2) opted to forego the match, vacate his title, and get into another row with Joshua Franco (Ring ranked #4). Dues go to ‘El Profesor’ for charging back into inhospitable terrain and to Kazuto for walking away from his title to retry a matchup he initially struggled with.

This rematch involves two highly-respected, high-level fighters and is sure to be a fascinating one to check out when the highlights post hits here after the event; which is under a media blackout outside of Japan.


As 1AM ET Friday, June 23rd, Bad Left Hook has reported that the bout is in danger of being cancelled due to weight cutting issues on the part of Franco:

“Robert Garcia admits that Franco (18-1-3, 8 KO) ran into “issues” during a “rough week” preceding the weigh-in, to the point where they nearly canceled the bout. Garcia claims he reached an agreement with the promoter before anyone hit the scale and that Franco will attempt to shed as much weight as he can, but at time of writing it’s unclear whether the Japanese Boxing Commission will let the bout proceed.”

h/t: Bad Left Hook

Since then it has been determined that the bout will proceed as scheduled. However, Franco will not be eligible to win the title in this bout. If he wins, Ioka’s title will become vacant.

Mori vs. Watanabe

The Joshua Franco vs. Kazuto Ioka undercard will be showcasing an epic clash between Musashi Mori (13-1-1) facing the challenge of Takuya Watanabe (39-11-2). This too will be a 12-round bout, but takes place in the Super Featherweight division. Mori makes his ring walk to square off against Watanabe with those 13 wins behind him, 7 of ’em knockouts. Meanwhile, Takuya steps into the ring with a whopping 39 fights under his belt, and 22 of them by way of knockout.

This battle is set to have an 11AM UTC Ringwalk, which is 7/4AM ETPT in America, or 12PM BST in the UK. Watanabe is 11 years older, holds a 56% knockout average (higher than Mori’s), possesses a height advantage of 2″, is the more experienced professional fighter with 37 more fights on his record, has been a pro almost ten years longer, which has provided him the opportunity to compete in 236 more pro rounds than Mori. Odds on Takayu Watanabe come in at +200 currently, for the upset, while Mori is sitting at -250 to win.

Joshua Franco, Kazuto Ioka, Franco vs Ioka 2, Lifetime Boxing Fights 15, Official Fight Poster, Shinsei Promotions Boxing,

Tale of the Tape

Headlining this event from the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo: Joshua Franco will go toe-to-toe with Kazoo Ioka, in a 12-round clash for the WBA Super Flyweight Championship.

Boxing: Ioka-Franco unification clash WBA super flyweight champion Joshua Franco of the United States is pictured in Tokyo on Dec. 28, 2022, as he trains for his New Year s Eve world boxing title unification bout against WBO counterpart Kazuto Ioka of Japan. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxONLY A14AA0001380013P
‘El Profesor’
Boxing: Ioka-Franco title unification clash WBO super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka of Japan is pictured in Tokyo on Dec. 27, 2022, as he trains for his New Year s Eve world boxing title unification bout against WBA counterpart Joshua Franco of the United States. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxONLY A14AA0001380017P

FIGHTING OUT OFSan Antonio, TexasSakai, Osaka
TRAINERRobert GarciaIsmael Salas
(8 KOs)
(15 KOs)
BETTING ODDS-112 (Near Even)-112 (Near Even)
TITLEWBA Super Flyweight ChampionFormer WBO Super Flyweight Champ
AGE AT FIGHT34 years, 3 months27 years, 7 months, 4 weeks
DIVISIONSuper Flyweight (115lbs/52.16kg)Super Flyweight (115lbs/52.16kg)
LATEST WEIGHT121.7 lbs ( kg)114.4 lbs ( kgs)
HEIGHT5’5″ (165cm)5’5″ (165cm)
REACH66.5″ (169cm)67″ (170cm)
KNOCKOUT % 44% 51%
ADVANTAGESCurrent World Champ, Won 1st Title
Def Current World Champ, Longer
Reach, Younger
Former World Champ, Won 1st Title
Def Current World Champ, More Years
Pro, More Pro Fights, No KO Losses,
Odds Favorite
INACTIVE175 Days175 Days
LAST BOUT31 Dec 2022 vs Kazuto Ioka MD-1231 Dec 2022 vs Joshua Franco MD-12

Start time and date

Joshua Franco vs. Kazoo Ioka 2 is only airing in Japan this weekend. The main card is set to get underway at 12PM UTC, which is approximately 5/2AM ETPT in America, or 1PM BST in the UK, (all on Saturday, June 24th., 2023), with Main Event Ringwalks starting at approximately 9/6AM ETPT. Times are subject to change depending on the length of the scheduled undercard bouts on the card. The event will be staged at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

‘Joshua Franco vs Kazuto Ioka 2’ Full Fight Card

6. Super Flyweight
Joshua Franco
Kazuto Ioka
5. Super Featherweight
Musashi Mori
Takuya Watanabe
4. Bantamweight
Kantaro Juri
Wilbert Berondo
3. Super Flyweight
Daigo Higa
Sirichai Thaiyen
2. Super Bantamweight
Taiga Tamegai
Fumiaki Iwasaki
1. Super Bantamweight
Shinnosuke Kimoto
Prathip Chinram

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About the author
June M. Williams
June M. Williams

June M. Williams is the Bloody Elbow Ombudsperson, Lead Fixer, Author, Statistician, Watch Party Moderator, and Podcast Network & Syndication Manager.

She began work for the Combat Sports Division of SB Nation in 2010, making Bloody Elbow her primary home since 2014.

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