Kazuto Ioka escapes anti-doping punishment ahead of Franco rematch

Kazuto Ioka has escaped punishment ahead of his rematch with WBA world super-flyweight champion Joshua Franco this upcoming Saturday following the Japanese Boxing Commission’s revelation that Ioka failed an anti-doping test last December for cannabis. The test was undertaken post-fight in Ioka’s original encounter with Franco on December 31st, which was scored as a majority draw in Tokyo.

Ioka escaped punishment as the levels found in his sample fell below the World Anti-Doping Agency’s detection limit. Ioka’s promoter Shisei Promotions, has questioned the motive of the JBC and the timing of their release statement regarding Ioka’s testing issues. Despite Ioka not surpassing WADA’s threshold for cannabis, Shisei promotions insisted that “Ioka hasn’t taken or used any banned substance,” quoted in a statement. “We’ll prove his innocence. We wonder why they needed to announce that at this time.”

At the time of publication, there are no plans to postpone Ioka’s rematch this Saturday due to take place in Tokyo.

This is not the first time that Ioka has been embroiled in doping controversy after a 2021 report ruled that Ioka had tested positive that Ioka had tested for cannabis in 2020. The report ruled that Ioka’s A sample had tested positive for the substance, yet his B sample tested negative and escaped punishment.

The same 2021 report added that the JBC neglected to follow proper procedures in storing the samples, and Ioka was not punished.