Oakland. Tijuana, Mexico. Washington, D.C.
Unbeaten featherweight Daniel Franco has been accumulating those frequent-flyer miles in recent months. Not to mention the 25-year-old has fought before unfamiliar faces in the crowd.
Just as he has been making a name for himself as a prospect, Franco has been hoping to fight near his home in Riverside, California.
It has been over two years since Franco has fought in Southern California but he’ll finally get his wish against former fringe contender Christopher Martin tonight in an eight-round “Bash Boxing” main event at the Exchange L.A. in Los Angeles, about a 50-mile drive west from his hometown.
Franco (15-0-3, with 10 knockouts) won a regional title belt in his most recent bout on Nov. 10, knocking out Derrick Murray in round four in a clash of unbeaten prospects.
It is the first of many titles he hopes to win.
“Being a champion in itself is a great accomplishment,” Franco told RingTV over the phone on Tuesday. “It’s one of the biggest accomplishments in my life. Fighters spend their whole career hoping to win a championship belt. I hope to add the word ‘world’ real soon.”
Before that occurs, Franco must get by Martin (29-8-3, 9 KOs), who has been on a downward slide. The 30-year-old fighter from San Diego has lost six of his last eight bouts.
With his confidence soaring, especially after stopping his last three opponents, Franco is not overlooking Martin, considering there are a lot of bigger fights on the horizon.
“I’m not taking anyone lightly,” said Franco, who is promoted by Roc Nation Sports. “I’ve never done that. Martin is a great fighter with lots of skill. He may be 30 but he’s on the downside of his career. He could give me a run for my money.
“I know he’s going to be at 100 percent when he faces me. I’m sure his goal would be to beat a talented prospect. I have everything to lose in this fight, while he has everything to gain, if he beats me.”
At 5-foot-9, Franco is tall and strong for a featherweight. He believes he is a few fights away from fighting the upper echelon of the division.
“I believe I have the skills to one day become a world champion. I want that dream to become a reality and I’m putting in the hard work in the gym to make that happen. I regularly spar contenders and champions, so that makes me get better. Iron sharpens iron.
“I don’t feel I’m anywhere near my peak as a fighter. I learn with each fight and I continue to push myself to get better and I’ve gotten better.”
Franco is close to his family. He is trained and managed by his father Al and his older brother Michael, a former fighter, assists in the corner.
Like many prizefighters, Franco understands the sacrifice during training camp, including the long trips to fight across the country.
This is why fighting close to home tonight means a great deal to Franco. Having familiar faces at ringside, whether they are family or those he trains alongside at The Warzone Boxing Club near his home, will likely give Franco that added motivation and hunger.
“Even since the amateurs, I do this for my family. I sacrifice and I work hard so I could continue to provide for them. I don’t want to get (complacent). I just want to continue working and striving to be the best I could be.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing