The Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) has announced that a urine sample from boxer Kazuto Ioka, taken on December 31, contained trace amounts of cannabis. This revelation was made just three days prior to Ioka’s rematch against the U.S. WBA super flyweight champion, Joshua Franco, in Tokyo.
Drug Traces in Kazuto Ioka’s Urine Sample
The fight will proceed as scheduled since the detected amount of cannabis was below the World Anti-Doping Agency’s limit, and thus not a doping violation.
Shisei Gym, where Ioka trains, issued a statement denying any use of banned substances by the boxer and expressed their commitment to establishing his innocence. They also questioned the timing of the announcement.
Tsuyoshi Yasukochi, a senior JBC official, has stressed that “the release of this information was to avoid suspicions of concealment” and confirmed that the relationship between JBC and Ioka’s camp remains cooperative.
The urine sample was collected on the day of Ioka’s previous fight against Franco, which ended in a 12-round draw. Ioka, who was then the WBO super flyweight champion, subsequently vacated his title to focus on the rematch with Franco.
This is not Ioka’s first involvement in a doping-related controversy. In May 2021, an ethics committee reported that one of his urine samples tested positive for cannabis, but a second test did not confirm this. The JBC was also criticized for not following proper procedures in storing the samples, and Ioka faced no penalties.
Kazuto Ioka, aged 34, is the only Japanese male boxer to have won world boxing championships in four weight divisions.