Tuesday, October 03, 2023  |



Joshua Franco announces his retirement following loss to Kazuto Ioka

Joshua Franco (R) is victorious as he defeats Andrew Moloney (L) for the WBA 115-pound title at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on August 14, 2021 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Fighters Network

Former junior bantamweight titleholder Joshua Franco has decided to retire from boxing, making the announcement on his Instagram account Sunday.

The announcement came one day after losing to Kazuto Ioka by unanimous decision in Ioka’s hometown of Tokyo, Japan. Franco missed weight at Friday’s weigh-in by over six pounds and was thus stripped of his WBA 115-pound title belt.

“I wanted to start off by saying Thank You to everyone that has supported me in my career,” Franco stated in his Instagram post. “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.”

Franco cited going through mental health issues during a majority of his pro career that began in August 2015.

“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.”

The 27-year-old, who was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, was elevated to full WBA titleholder after winning a unanimous decision over Andrew Moloney in August 2021. It was the final fight in a trilogy against Moloney, which also included a decision win in June 2020 and a no decision less than five months later.

Franco (18-2-3, 8 knockouts) fought most of his career under the Golden Boy Promotions banner. After suffering his first loss of his career in March 2018, Franco rebuilt his career fighting at 115 and 118 pounds.

Aside from fighting three times against Moloney, Franco also had a trilogy against Oscar Negrete, producing action fights in 2018 and 2019 that resulted in two split-decision draws and a split-decision win for Franco.

Franco is the older brother of WBO flyweight titleholder Jesse Rodriguez. He entered the fight ranked No. 4 by The Ring. Along with Rodriguez, Franco was trained by Robert Garcia.

“I want to say Thank You to my team. My mom, dad, and brothers for all their help and support throughout my career. Everyone at RGBA (Robert Garcia Boxing Academy) for believing in me helping me achieve my dreams. You guys always believed in me and I will forever be grateful.

“Again Thank you to everyone for all their support and I’ll see you guys around.”


Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]