And New: A Conversation with Super Flyweight Champion Joshua Franco

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Top Rank‘s Summer Series’ lone title fight saw underdog contender, Joshua Franco (17-1-2), emphatically win a world title against WBA Super Flyweight titleholder, Andrew Moloney (21-1).

The bout resulted in an unanimous-decision victory for the San Antonio native who sent the now former champion from Australia to the canvas in the 11th round, which essentially sealed his victory. 

In a phone interview with Round By Round Boxing, Franco addressed his experience of fulfilling a lifelong dream in becoming a world champion, as well as what he wants next out of his career.  

“It’s a great feeling to be champion,” said Franco. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. So, to finally be a world champion, it’s just a great feeling.” 

Top Rank had been endorsing their Australian champion pretty heavily throughout the couple of weeks leading up to the fight, with advertisements appearing all over ESPN airwaves. Moloney was the clear A-side leading into the bout and was a fairly heavy favorite against the Golden Boy Promotions contender. 

When asked if it made a difference for him to beat the Top Rank fighter on a Top Rank card, the new champ was willing to admit that it made it sweeter. 

“That was the icing on the cake,” said Franco. “Getting the knockdown, dominating the fight, and him being a Top Rank fighter that I was ‘supposed’ to lose to; it felt good.”

The bout was competitive and hard fought in what was a well deserved win for Franco. The knockdown in the 11th round was a pivotal moment in the win. In a typical event with fans, it likely would have been a moment in which the arena would have erupted in cheers for the American underdog. 

However, being that this fight (as well as all fights for the foreseeable future) was contested with no fans, we asked Franco if the absence of the crowd and noise changed his experience. 

“I didn’t think about any of that, honestly,” said Franco. “I was in the zone, worried about finishing him after the knockdown. It didn’t make a difference at any point in the fight.”

Speaking more to “the bubble,” Franco highlighted the experience of a fight week in the unique setting.

“You’re closed off by yourself and with your team,” said Franco. “When you get there they test you, and you can’t come out of your room until the next morning after the testing is complete. No family is allowed, or anything like that.”

Clearly, Franco didn’t let the outside factors determine how he would perform, as he is now a world champion with aspirations of unifying in the future. 

“I want to try and unify with one of the champions. [Roman] “Chocolatito” [Gonzalez], that would be a great fight, [Juan Francisco] Estrada, [Jerwin] Ancajas; any of those guys I have on my radar. Unifying is the next thing to do.”

The newly crowned champ clearly has his eyes on greatness with his lofty goals and desires to fight the best at 115 pounds.

However, it was recently reported that Andrew Moloney will exercise his rematch clause following his medical suspension, so unification bouts may have to wait for the new WBA titleholder. 

Joshua Franco also wanted to thank his fans and all of those who supported him, saying that there is a lot more to look forward to. 

“We’re just getting started,” stated Franco confidently. 

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