by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Filipino super bantamweight Drian Franisco is ready for his big test against world rated American Chris “The Hitman” Avalos in the main event of ESPN's Friday Night Fights at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas on Friday.
Former heavyweight contender and one-time Manny Pacquiao strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune, who has been training Francisco at his Los Angeles Gym, told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard - “Drian is very good. He’s ready for this fight, ready to fight.”
He said Francisco “has had some great sparring with a youngster who has an 18-2 record and was an Avalos look-alike and a couple of bigger guys, 135 pounders for strength.”
Fortune said Francisco “has done very well and is ready for this fight” even as he expressed the hope that he “doesn’t get screwed in a decision” because this is a big fight and the winner will get a title shot.
The reigning WBO/WBA champion is former Cuban two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux who shocked Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire last April 13 in New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Fortune said the 23 year old Avalos who is ranked No. 5 by the WBO and No. 10 by the WBA and has a record of 21-2 with 16 knockouts “has no defense but has a very good right hand.”
Fortune said “they consider him a puncher but he’s never fought anybody like Drian.” He noted that Francisco is “awkward, has good defense and offense and this kid (Francisco) can really punch.”
He revealed that about one month ago Vic Darchinyan who is supposed to have a rematch with Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire sometime in November “quit after four rounds (sparring) with Drian. He doesn’t want anything to do with Drian.”
The 30 year old Filipino has a record of 24-1-1 with 19 knockouts and is coming off an impressive 5th round TKO of Mexican Javier Gallo at the LA Sports Arena last November 17 in a fight card headlined by WBO flyweight champion Brian Viloria who scored a 10th round TKO over WBA champion Hernan “Tyson” Marquez.
Prior to that Franciso dropped Jose Carlos Vargas three times to win by a 1st round knockout on September 29, 2012.
Avalos who won the WBO Intercontinental and North American Boxing Association super bantamweight titles with a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Russian Khabir Suleymanov on June 10, 2011 is coming off a 4th round TKO over Jose Luis Araiza last February 23 and a unanimous ten round decision over Yenifel Vicente (23-0-1, 16 KO’s) of the Dominican Republic on August 10, 2012 after dropping him in the 5th round.