Although this highly anticipated super flyweight unification fight between WBO titlist Kazuto Ioka and WBA counterpart Joshua Franco lived up to the occasion, the majority draw outcome, while fair, was unsatisfying as both men ended up keeping their titles.
The ultra-aggressive Franco exhibited incredible stamina as he averaged 117.7 punches per round to Ioka's 66.4 but was probably hurt by Ioka's precision gaps of 27%-14% overall, 13%-6% jabs and 39%-22% power, which allowed the home country favorite to eke out connect leads of 214-202 overall, 47-41 jabs, 96-66 body and 167-161 power despite trailing Franco 6-5-1 in the CompuBox round-by-round breakdown of total connects.
Ioka was the better jabber (30.3 attempts/3.9 connects per round to Franco's 57.3/3.4) and his blend of defensive skill and counter-punching prowess combined with the home ring advantage was just enough for him to push his New Year's Eve record to 9-1-1 (7 KO).
While the two men achieved the fourth-highest total of combined total punches in a super flyweight fight counted by CompuBox (2,209), Franco's contribution to the total (63.9%) was far greater than that of Ioka's (36.1%). Scoring: 115-113 F, 114-114 (2x).
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