Joshua Franco Wants Juan Francisco Estrada Unification Despite Draw With WBO Champion Kazuto Ioka

Despite the majority draw Joshua Franco earned against WBO champion Kazuto Ioka in their New Year’s Eve battle in Tokyo, Japan, Franco still has the ambition of unifying his title with Juan Francisco Estrada, the lineal/WBC junior bantamweight champion.

Joshua Franco Wants Juan Francisco Estrada Unification Despite Draw With WBO Champion Kazuto Ioka

Judge Stanley Christodoulou was of the opinion that Franco had won the year-ending unification. However, he was overruled by the two ringside officials, Ferlin Marsh and Jose Roberto Torres, who both declared the match to be a tie.

That disrupted plans to have a face-off with Mexico’s Estrada (44-3, 28KOs), who was also present at the event and eager to unify the division.

And yet, that has not prevented Franco’s team from making that happen. Rick Mirigian, who happens to be Franco’s manager, had this to say:

“Eddie Hearn, let’s make a deal for Joshua Franco to fight Ioka in Texas next on DAZN or, better yet, Estrada. He clearly showed he should be the unified champion and was robbed with this draw, a top 10 action-packed fight of the year as well. Franco/Ioka II in Texas or better Estrada (’cause no one is going back to Japan), or we can just say he is the Unified Champion (cause he should be) and fight Estrada if that works.”

Estrada was able to reclaim the WBC title in his third fight against the four-division champion Roman Gonzalez in Glendale, Arizona.

But it appears unlikely that Ioka (29-2-1, 15KOs) will be able to have a rematch with Franco (18-1-3, 8KOs) or a fight with Estrada due to certain prior obligations.

The World Boxing Organization (WBO) had granted approval for the unification bout with Franco on the condition that his next fight would be with ex-WBO flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (24-0, 18KOs), who is the mandatory challenger.

WBO president Francisco Valcarcel stated the following: “According to last convention resolution, WBO championship committee will order 30 days negotiations to Ioka and Nakatani to reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reach[ed], a purse bid will be [ordered].”

With that being said, fans have been left none the wiser.
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