Ioka and Franco failed to determine the winner in unification


Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan. In the main fight of the last iconic show of the outgoing year, the unification took place in the limit of the second flyweight (up to 52.2 kg): local WBO champion near-pound Kazuto Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KOs) failed to take the WBA title from the American Joshua Franco (18-1-3, 8 KOs).

It was also a fight of trainers-applicants for victory in the nomination mentor of the year – Ioka collaborates with Cuban Ismael Salas, and Franco with compatriot Robert Garcia.

Great starting round. Franco unusually jabbed a lot, crushing the opponent. Ioka responded with great combinations, hitting the target with a couple of uppercuts, marking his signature body shots, and launching a solid overhand.

The American is more active, but noticeably inferior in efficiency – Ioka coolly intercepts, launched two signature left hooks to the body. He forced the opponent to drop his hands and immediately hit with a right hook. Franco holds decently.

The underdog from the USA has earned even more actively as the first number, they demand combinations from him. I spent the round a little more successfully in attack, but also missed a lot in response. Cool fight!

In the 4th round, the fighters did a great job in infighting. Franco quickly realized that this was not what he needed. His task is to pinch the opponent at the ropes. Ioka counters beautifully with a right hook/cross – he figured out that the opponent often starts attacks from the left hook.

Franco did well at the end of the 5th three-minute period. He set a very high density of combat and is simply trying to rework Ioka. It turns out well. The question is whether he will be able to hold all 12 rounds like this and whether the missed blows to the body will affect him, because there are a lot of them. After the first half, everything is very competitive. But the favorite has a little more memorable hits.

A great start to the second half of the fight. Franco suppressed Ioka with firepower. He is still more effective, but he needs to give free rein to his fists more often – the American is many times more active. Around the 10th round, Garcia’s ward slowed down a little, lost a little in workrate. He missed a little more shots, a few dangerous ones.

Franco’s manager is sure that his fighter took almost all the rounds, and on Japanese television they think exactly the opposite.

A wild exchange at the end of the 11th three-minute period. in favor of Franco. The American was a little less active in the final round. This may not be enough for him to win.

The score of the judges: 115-113 Franco and twice 114-114. We have a draw. Everything is fair.

Draw MD 12.

Ioka previously the first in history Japan conquered four weight divisions, claimed to be the first unified world champion in two weights.

The fight was attended by the WBC champion in this weight pound Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada – He is interested in a duel with the winner.