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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Kazuto Ioka, Joshua Franco fight to majority draw in Tokyo

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Kazuto Ioka and Joshua Franco settled nothing on New Year’s Eve.

The 115-pound titleholders fought to a majority draw at Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, meaning both men retained their championship belts.

One judge had Franco winning 115-113, seven rounds to five. The other two scored it 114-114.

Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KOs) is one of the most respect titleholders in the world, having won major belts in two divisions and climbing onto some pound-for-pound lists (Honorable Mention on Boxing Junkie’s list).

And the 33-year-old had the advantage of fighting in his home country.

However, Joshua (18-1-3, 8 KOs) obviously wasn’t fazed. The slick 27-year-old San Antonio fighter probably outworked Ioka, although no one will dispute the outcome after a legitimately close, back-and-forth fight.

The draw snapped Ioka’s winning streak at six. He holds the WBO version of the junior bantamweight title.

Franco, the WBA champ, has now given a strong performance in three consecutive high-profile fights, not counting a no-contest against Andrew Moloney.

Franco sandwiched the no-contest with decision victories over the capable Australian fighter.

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