Kazuto Ioka vs Joshua Franco: How To Watch Today & Start Time

06/24/2023 - No comments

Today in Tokyo, Japan, Joshua Franco will put his WBA super flyweight title on the line once more against Kazuto Ioka. However, the broadcasting network for the Franco vs. Ioka sequel remains undisclosed. In their previous bout, no American networks aired the face-off. Interestingly, the rematch is a more lucrative proposition in Japan compared to the U.S. For Franco to have a home turf advantage in San Antonio, an irresistible offer would be necessary, one that could not match the potential revenue in Japan.

Let’s cast our minds back to the last heated exchange between Franco (18-1-3, 8 KOs) and Ioka. Thef fight was on December 31st at the Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan, ending in a controversial 12-round draw. Although many believed Franco had a clear win, the judges declared a 115-113 score in favor of Franco and 114-114, 1114-114. With his impressive work rate and combination punches, Franco seemed to dominate the bout against a visibly worn-out Ioka, who was then 33 years old.

Ioka (29-2-1, 5 KOs) has chosen to vacate his WBO 115-lb title instead of defending it against his mandated opponent, Junto Nakatani. The World Boxing Organization had recently ordered this match. Opting out appears to be a strategic move by Ioka. The undefeated Nakatani (24-0, 18 KOs), who is only 25, could pose a significant challenge to him and possibly to anyone else in the 115 class. However, against the 27-year-old Franco, Ioka could have a fighting chance if the judges maintain their previous favorable scoring trend.


  • Date : Saturday, June 24
  • Time : 7 a.m. ET / 12 p.m. BST / 8 p.m. JST
  • Main event ringwalks (approx):  9:00 a.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. BST / 10 p.m. JST
  • The fight will take place at the Ota City General Gymnasium, in Tokyo, Japan
  • There are no confirmed broadcast details for the fight in the US or UK.
  • The main card is set to get underway at 7 a.m. ET / 12 p.m. BST / 8 p.m. JST with the main event ringwalks scheduled for 9:00 a.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. BST / 10 p.m. JST. These timings could change due to the length of the undercard fights.
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Franco’s WBA junior bantamweight title will again be the prize of the match, but Ioka’s vacated WBO belt will not be in play. He decided to relinquish his title in anticipation of the mandatory February 28 bout against Junto Nakatani.

The San Antonio, Texas native, older sibling to 23-year-old Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, a well-loved former WBC super flyweight champion, shares an exhilarating style with WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. Known for his thrilling three to five-punch combinations, Franco overwhelms his opponents, a strategy he used against Ioka in their previous December face-off. Before his decision to relinquish his WBO 115-lb title, Ioka had defended it six times successfully. As the stage is set for the rematch, fans wait with bated breath.

In an eyebrow-raising announcement, the Japan Boxing Commission has reported that traces of cannabis were found in the urine sample of renowned boxer Kazuto Ioka.

The timing of this information is particularly significant – with only two days left before Ioka’s anticipated rematch against Joshua Franco, the reigning WBA super flyweight champion from the United States. But, have you wondered whether this shocking disclosure would jeopardize their scheduled fight in Tokyo? The answer is – no. Since the detected cannabis concentration was below the World Anti-Doping Agency’s detection threshold, the match will proceed as planned.

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“We assert with absolute conviction – Ioka has not consumed or utilized any prohibited substances,” stated his Shisei Gym in a press release. A determination to prove his innocence was further conveyed, raising a question of their own – why was there a need for such an announcement at this time.

This sample was drawn on the date of their previous bout, a 12-round draw in a two-belt unification fight with Ioka contending as the WBO super flyweight champion.

This is not Ioka’s first dance with doping controversies. Going back to May 2021, an ethics committee report from a third-party panel detailed that the “A” sample of his urine collected in December 2020 had tested positive for cannabis. However, the subsequent “B” sample did not corroborate the initial finding.

This report further added fuel to the fire, highlighting that JBC failed to adhere to proper procedures for sample storage, and Ioka walked away without any repercussions.


  • Joshua Franco vs. Kazuto Ioka, rematch, 12 rounds, for Franco’s WBA junior bantamweight title
  • Musashi Mori vs. Takuya Watanabe, 12 rounds, junior lightweights
  • Daigo Higa vs. Sirichai Thaiyen, 10 rounds, bantamweights
  • Kantaro Juri vs. Wilbert Berondo, 8 rounds, junior bantamweights
  • Taiga Tamegai vs. Fumiaki Iwasaki, 4 rounds, junior featherweights