Joshua Franco is hoping to expand his belt collection…
The 26-year-old Mexican American boxer and Kazuto Ioka have agreed to terms for a 115-pound title unification bout on December 31 in Japan, according to ESPN.
Ioka, a 33-year-old who fights out of Tokyo, won the title with a split-decision victory over Donnie Nietes in 2018. He has made five successful defenses, most recently a unanimous-decision win over Nietes in a July rematch in which he left no doubt.
Franco, from San Antonio, closed out three consecutive fights against Andrew Moloney with a decision victory last August. He hasn’t competed since and secured his release from Golden Boy Promotions in August.
Ioka is rated No. 4 by ESPN at junior bantamweight, one of boxing’s most stacked divisions. Franco, the brother of Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, is No. 7.
Future Hall of Famers Roman Gonzalez and Estrada meet in a trilogy on December 3, and the winner could meet the victor of Ioka-Franco next year.