Japanese star Kazuto Ioka was disappointed with his performance on Saturday night, when he fought to a twelve round majority draw with Joshua Franco in their super flyweight unification clash at Tokyo' General Gymnasium.
Two of the official judges scored the contest 114-114, while one judge favored Franco with a tally of 115-113.
Franco walked away with his World Boxing Association title, while Ioka retained his World Boxing Organization title for the sixth time.
Ioke was attempting to become the first Japanese fighter to be a unified world champion in two weight classes.
In June of 2012, Ioka picked up a big win over Akira Yaegashi to unify the WBA and WBC minimumweight world titles.
World Boxing Council super flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico was watching from ringside - with a clear hope of facing the winner.
There were certainly close rounds in the bout, but was Franco who turned up the heat in the second half.
Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KOs), 33-years-old, is riding a six fight winning streak that dates back to a decision loss to Donnie Nietes in 2018. Ioka avenged that loss in July with a dominant decision in their rematch.
The Japanese veteran admits Franco's style of boxing was difficult to deal with.
"I would like to apologize for being unable to live up to your expectations," Ioka said. "I thought I had an advantage midway through the contest. His technique and mental strength kept me from showing a clear difference."
At the moment there is no indication if a rematch is going to take place in the future.
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