Winning the title on another promoter’s show comes with its own type of reward.
So, too, for Joshua Franco will be defending said belt in a similar setting heading into his rematch with Andrew Moloney. Should a repeat win come of their second battle this Saturday in Las Vegas, the defending secondary junior bantamweight titlist from San Antonio has a more ideal setting for his next adventure.
“It looks like my hometown is back in the boxing business,” Franco told BoxingScene.com. “They just had fans there last month; I’d love to bring them back for my next title defense once I take care of business here.”
The development to which Franco (17-1-2, 8KOs) refers is the successful October 31 show which took place at The Alamodome. Atop the Showtime Pay-Per-View, Gervonta Davis delivered a viral 6th knockout of Leo Santa Cruz in front of a socially distanced crowd of 9,000 or so in attendance.
It’s nearly 9,000 more people in the house than was the case for his title winning effort, scoring a 12-round decision over Australia’s Moloney (21-1, 14KOs) behind closed doors this past June in The Bubble at MGM Grand. The two head to the same venue, this time in front of 250 or so patrons and in supporting capacity to unbeaten welterweight titlist Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (36-0, 27KOs) in a voluntary defense versus England’s Kell Brook (39-2, 27KOs).
Prior to his title winning effort, Franco had a taste of fighting in front of a hometown crowd in a 9th round stoppage of Jose Burgos this past January, also at The Alamodome. The bout was just his third in his home state of Texas and first ever in his hometown. The promise that Franco made to himself was that it would be his last as a contender and that his 2020 would include a major title win.
With that dream realized comes the next one; bringing that belt back home for his fans to enjoy. Locally based 140-pound secondary titlist Mario Barrios beat him to the punch in that regard, scoring a knockout win over Houston’s Ryan Karl on the Davis-Santa Cruz undercard.
Still, being the first to head home was never as important as being the next one in line.
“Obviously, I’m not looking past Andrew and Saturday night’s fight,” admits Franco. “But seeing Mario do his thing at The Alamodome in front of fans, it gave me more motivation to remember what I’m fighting for.
“After this win, I want to face the best at 115 pounds and would love to welcome them to my hometown where—as everyone can see—we have the best boxing fans.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox