Home Boxing News Joshua Franco announces retirement at just 27 following loss to Kazuto Ioka

Joshua Franco announces retirement at just 27 following loss to Kazuto Ioka

Joshua Franco. Photo credit: Tom Hogan

Joshua ‘El Profesor’ Franco 18-2-3-1NC (8) has announced he is hanging up the gloves following his 12-round unanimous decision loss to four-division world champion Kazuto Ioka 30-2-1 (15) at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo on Saturday night.

The San Antonio, Texas native lost his WBA 115-pound title on the scales when he came in two weight divisions higher than the official weight class.

Japan’s Ioka, 34, looked super sharp from the get-go and only got better as the fight went on. Meanwhile Franco, carrying extra weight, looked more and more lethargic and inaccurate as the bout went on, despite throwing more than 1,300 punches according to CompuBox.

The bout was a rematch of their first clash last New Years Eve that ended in a split draw with Franco up on one card and the other two even. Ioka, who held the WBO title at the time, was that keen on revenge that he dumped the belt to face Franco in a rematch rather than take on his mandatory Junto Nakatani, who claimed the vacant strap with a 12th round knockout of Australian Andrew Moloney last month.

There were clearly issues in Franco’s camp leading into the fight that prevented him from training correctly and being able to make weight. He has announced he is stepping away from the sport permanently, citing mental health reasons.

“I wanted to start off by saying thank you to everyone that has supported me in my career,” Franco said on Instagram. “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 talked 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 team. My mom, dad and brothers for all their help and support throughout my whole career. Everyone at RGBA for believing in me helping me achieve my dreams. You guys always believed in me and I will forever be grateful.

“Last night in Tokyo, Japan 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.”

RingNews24 wishes Franco all the best for the future.