Ioka vs Franco Junior-Bantamweight Rematch Still On Despite Franco Missing Weight By Over Six Pounds!

By James Slater - 06/23/2023 - Comments

There’s missing weight and there’s missing weight. It’s been reported how, ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly anticipated return fight between junior-bantamweights Kazuto Ioka and Joshua Franco, Franco failed to make the 115 pound limit – by over six pounds! Franco scaled 121.1 pounds at the official weigh-in.

Given time to try and melt off some of the excess pounds (why, we don’t know, it must have been as clear as day that Franco would never shift six-and-a-half pounds in the given time), Franco was successful in dropping just 200 grams. The fight, however, will go ahead as scheduled, with only Ioka now able to win the WBA title that was stripped from Franco for coming in two weight divisions heavier than he should have.

Ioka, from Sakai, Japan, made weight comfortably in Tokyo, this at the first attempt, but he will now possibly enter the ring for tomorrow’s rematch as a fighter who will be facing an out of shape opponent. Or Ioka will possibly be entering the ring as a fighter who has a huge disadvantage seeing how his rival will be that much bigger than he is. Take your pick as far as which scenario seems most likely to you.

Should this fight have even been allowed to go ahead? Again, that’s up for discussion.

The first fight between Ioka, 29-2-1(15) and Franco, 18-1-3(8) ended as a draw, the fight that took place on New Year’s Eve being an exciting one. That fight contested the WBA and the WBO titles, with Ioka later opting to vacate the belt he retained via the draw. Now, having been stripped of his WBA belt and being unable to win it back tomorrow, Franco of San Antonio will no doubt fight as hard as he can to avoid losing, thus making his second trip to Japan a total disaster.

34 year old Ioka was, plenty of fans felt, lucky to have got the draw on New Year’s Eve, but here, 27 year old Franco has to count himself lucky he still has a fight to fight tomorrow. Again, there’s failing to make weight and there’s failing to make weight!