Joshua Franco’s rematch with Kazuto Ioka in Tokyo took an unexpected turn when he exceeded the junior bantamweight limit significantly at the weigh in. As a result, the World Boxing Association promptly stripped him of his title.
Franco hit the scales at a whopping 121.25 lbs. Despite being given an additional two hours to shed weight after the initial weigh-in, he only managed to drop half a pound. This put him 6.25 lbs over the limit – a violation that cost him his title. Ioka came in well within the weight limit at 114.75 lbs.
This considerable difference in compliance with weight regulations adds yet another layer of complexity to their much-anticipated rematch in Tokio. If the fight does take place, Ioka will become the new champion if he wins, and the title will remain vacant if Franco wins.
Following their eventful weigh-in, Joshua Franco and Kazuto Ioka appeared at a press conference, where they each addressed the issue at hand and their expectations for the upcoming match.
Franco, despite the setback, expressed a positive outlook. He stated, “There were numerous factors at play, but I will be stepping into the ring for the fight. I urge everyone to watch and anticipate it.”
Ioka enthusiastically said, “This is a match where we have to win in a direct rematch to become the champion. When asked about his anger about Franco’s weight gain, he quickly replied: “Not at all. Nothing has changed.”
In contrast to Ioka’s open discussion, Garcia, Franco’s trainer, refrained from providing extensive details about Franco’s weight gain. He merely commented, “It’s been a very tough week.”
Nigiri shed some light on the psychological aspect, revealing, “There was a certain mental downcast given the fear that this fight might not proceed two days ago.”