Joshua Franco or Kazuto Ioka in Title Fight?

Quinn Allen
By , Updated on: Jun 23, 2023 12:00 AM
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  • What: Joshua Franco vs Kazuto Ioka - Junior Bantamweight Title Fight
  • When: Saturday, June 24th
  • Where: Tokyo

American boxing fans will have to wake up bright and early on Saturday for a tantalizing bantamweight title fight between Joshua Franco and Kazuto Ioka in Tokyo at the Ota-City General Gymnasium, which a capacity of just over 4,000. The main event is scheduled for approximately 9 am ET in the States. Ioka will be looking to snatch Franco's belt here with a victory. This is actually a rematch of their bout on New Year's Eve, which finished as a draw. In fact, this fight is at the exact same location too, giving Ioka the opportunity to box on home soil again. Below, find the Joshua Franco vs Kazuto Ioka picks.

Before we get into the odds and predictions for this fight, check out the best boxing betting sites and where you can find our sportsbook reviews.

Joshua Franco vs Kazuto Ioka Odds

FighterBetOnlineBovadaBetUS
Joshua Franco-128-125-125
Kazuto Ioka-102-105-110

Since there was nothing separating these two last time they met in December, the odds are very even. For example at BetOnline, Franco sits at -128 while Ioka comes back at -102. That's pretty much unheard of in boxing bouts. The odds almost always favor one fighter more than the other. Since they did go 12 rounds at the end of 2022, we can expect another war.

Fight Preview

While there is a notable age difference between Franco and Ioka, you couldn't tell in their first meeting. Franco, 27, was pushed to the absolute brink by Ioka, who is 34. To be honest, the Japanese basically outdueled the Americans in essentially every area. He landed 26.9% of his total punches while Franco was at just 14.3%. Jabs? 12.9% to 6%. Power punches? 38.6% to 22.2%. Ioka should've probably won the fight. With the result of a draw, Ioka kept his WBO belt while Franco held on to his WBA belt. The Texas native did display fantastic stamina in December though and never gave in.

Franco turned professional back in 2015 and owns a record of 18 wins, one loss, and three draws. He's notched eight knockouts in his career. Franco actually won the first 13 fights after going pro but saw that streak come to an end in March of 2018 after Lucas Fernandez knocked him out. He's also got just one victory in his last three bouts too, settling for a no-contest against Andrew Mulroney before beating him a year later. Then, of course, the draw with Ioka in December.

Although Franco failed to collect the win the last time he clashed with Ioka, he is the one in his prime at just 27 and has no shortage of motivation here because another title contender will be up next if he is the last man standing on Saturday. Plus, Franco has claimed he's "figured out" Ioka ahead of their rematch. If so, we can expect a victory.

Ioka is one of the most successful Japanese boxers ever. He turned pro in 2009 and has been a four-weight champion from minimumweight to super flyweight. In 32 career fights, Ioka has 29 wins, two losses, and one draw. He's also knocked out 15 opponents. Ioka had won six straight bouts before the draw and he tends to get home ring advantage.

This will be his eighth fight in a row that will be in Japan, which can only help. It also wasn't long ago that Ioka was considered one of the top super flyweight boxers in the world, beating Kosei Tanaka in 2020 before avenging his loss to Donny Nietes and in the process, retaining the WBO title once again. Ioka was on the back foot a little too much against Franco though and must be more aggressive Saturday. That's when he's at his best.

Both fighters stand at 5 foot 4, but Franco does have a three-inch reach advantage. That didn't really play much of a factor last year, though.

Joshua Franco vs Kazuto Ioka Picks

I expect this to be another tantalizing affair. However, Franco is probably going to take this one. He did well at times in December but didn't show his absolute best. The confidence of the American also seems to be through the roof right now. Since the moneyline isn't too lopsided, simply taking Franco to win outright is worth it. Oh, also take the over 10.5 rounds. It could go the full 12 again.

Joshua Franco moneyline Vs Kazuto Ioka
BetOnline
-128
Joshua Franco vs Kazuto Ioka Over 10.5 Rounds
BetOnline
600

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Meet the author

Quinn Allen

Quinn Allen leverages his broadcast journalism degree and passion for sports in his betting previews and analysis. Based in Kelowna, Canada, he has emerged as an expert voice with picks featured on OSB, MTS, SBD, and as a ClutchPoints editor. With a lifelong fandom of...

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