Joshua Franco Announces Shock Retirement At Age 27

By James Slater - 06/25/2023 - Comments

Former WBA junior-bantamweight champion Joshua Franco of San Antonio, Texas has quite shockingly announced his retirement from the ring, this at the young age of 27. Franco, who failed by some margin to make weight for yesterday’s return fight with Japanese star Kazuto Ioka, Franco tipping-in some six pounds about the 115 pound weight limit, went on to lose the fight via unanimous decision. Still, fans felt Franco would regroup, move up a division (or two) and look to become a champion all over again.

Not so. Franco, 18-2-3(8) took to social media to announce that the fight in Tokyo was his last. Franco says he battled mental problems throughout his ring career.

Here is Franco’s official announcement:

“I wanted to start off by saying thank you to everyone that has supported me in my career. I appreciate everyone for their continued support. I was able to live my childhood dream of becoming a world champion. I defended my title multiple times all over the world and always tried my best to represent San Antonio, TX proudly.

“For the majority of my career I have been going through a lot of mental problems that I was doing my best to control. I never liked talking about it publicly because I didn’t want anyone to think I ever made an excuse for anything or for anyone to look at me different. I battled through it as much as I could to still perform and give you guys some great fights. For anyone that battles through any type of mental health issues please know you are not alone. And you can’t let anything stop you from achieving your dreams.

“I want to say thank you to my whole team. My mom, dad and brothers for all their help and support throughout my whole career. Everyone at RGBA for believing in me and helping me achieve my dreams. You guys always believed in me and I will forever be grateful. Last night in Tokyo was officially my last fight. It was a tough week for me and I didn’t get the result I wanted but I leave this sport knowing I gave it everything I had. Again thank you to everyone for all their support and I’ll see you guys around.”

A most emotional and thought-provoking retirement speech, I think you’ll agree. We never know what a fighter is going through when they have the bravery that is required to step into the boxing ring. For Franco to have battled inner demons whilst also tackling elite fighters really is quite something. Maybe Franco deserves a pass for his failure to make weight ahead of what will now go down as his final fight?

Let’s all hope Joshua Franco can find peace and happiness in retirement. Franco was a real warrior and he really did give us guys some great fights.

Franco won the WBA title in June of 2020 and he made three retentions of the belt. Franco was only ever stopped once.