World Boxing Organization super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka said Tuesday he will make his third title defense against second-ranked Mexican Francisco Rodriguez Jr. on Sept. 1 at Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo.

Ioka will be fighting for the first time since beating top-ranked Japanese compatriot Kosei Tanaka on New Year's Eve.

Kazuto Ioka poses for a photo at an online press conference on Aug. 10, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Shisei Boxing Gym)(Kyodo)

He was embroiled in a false-positive drug test controversy following the bout, but was cleared of wrongdoing after the Japan Boxing Commission was found to have handled his pre-match sample negligently.

"I separate (the scandal) from the essence of boxing. I want to display a difference in class as champion," Ioka said in an online press conference.

Ioka holds a 26-2 record with 15 knockouts, while Rodriguez is 34-4 with 24 KOs and one draw.

Rodriguez unified the WBO and International Boxing Federations' minimumweight title in 2014 when he beat Japanese boxer Katsunari Takayama.

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