On Thursday, November 10, 2016, undefeated Roc Nation Sports Featherweight prospect Daniel “Twitch” Franco (14-0-3, 9 KOs) will take on Derrick Murray (13-0-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant USBA Featherweight title.
The scheduled 10-round bout will headline the extraordinary Fight For Children’s annual Fight Night charity event at the Washington Hilton in Washington DC.
Franco, who most recently won a fifth-round knockout over Marcello Gallardo on the Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand undercard on August 6, is excited for the opportunity to headline in the nation’s capital.
“It really feels great to be able to be at the center of attention and having everyone’s eyes on me for this event,” said Franco. “I always train as hard as I can, I’m pushing myself. I already finished my runs today (at 9:00 am), I did about six miles in the mountains and I’m making sure my legs are strong for fight night.”
Franco hails from Riverside, California and began boxing at the age of eight, amassing an amateur record of 67-15. The 24-year-old Featherweight has enjoyed top-notch sparring ahead of his first 10-round bout.
“Whoever I spar with here in Southern California it’s always great sparring. [For this camp] I’ve been working with 2012 Olympian, Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev, who fights at Welterweight. Also, the other day I was working with Chris Avalos as well,” said Franco.
“I’m working on everything that I should be focusing on for this fight and not just beating up sparring partners,” said Franco.
Although November 10 will mark Franco’s east coast debut, he is no stranger to fighting outside of his home state and relishes the opportunity to continue learning with each bout.
At the end of 2015, Franco took on Hector Garcia in Garcia’s backyard of Mexico–a tough fight which Franco won by majority decision.
“That fight was tough because I hurt my hand in the fight. After the first round I was boxing with one hand. I was able to outbox him and even outpunch him and I did it just with one hand,” said Franco. “It was a cool experience because I was in a town where nobody wanted to go for me, but they saw my determination and by the end of the fight they were chanting my name.”
Franco, who was originally slated to face Jose “Pepito” Haro on November 10 before Haro was forced to drop out of the bout due to an injury, has been studying amateur and professional footage of his undefeated opponent, Murray.
“I see some habits that he has ever since he was an amateur. There are videos of him as an amateur and of his pro fights and I see him doing the same thing. He has an extensive amateur background and most people that I see with a big amateur background, they do a lot of the same stuff over and over,” said Franco.
“You want to do things over and over to get better at them, but if you are practicing the wrong things over and over you’re always going to do them wrong. I think he has habits that I can pick apart so I’m doing my best to study and be focused so his weaknesses will become my strengths.”
And while we were on the subject of bad habits, Franco also dished on his nickname Twitch, which came from an early bad habit that actually turned into something positive.
“I used to get really squared with my shoulders,” said Franco. “When I was a young kid my dad would tell me to tap my chin and my left shoulder. I would always do that and I’m even doing it right now as I’m explaining [laughing]. It just became a really good habit to make sure my body is in the right spot and right position for my boxing stance and style.”
The Fight For Children’s annual Fight Night charity event brings together a unique blend of politicians, sports stars and musicians–to name a few. Franco hopes to impress the diverse crowd on November 10.
“I’ve heard nothing but good things about this event. I’m really excited to be a part of it and hopefully I can show off the belt after,” said Franco.
DANIEL FRANCO – I AM BOXING EPISODE 1
EXPECTED FIGHT NIGHT ATTENDEES
· Foreigner (live performance)
· America’s Got Talent Season 11 finalist Sal Valentinetti (live performance)
· Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (live performance)
· Sugar Hill Gang (live performance)
· Washington Redskins Cheerleaders (live performance)
· Celebrity pool shark Jeannette “Black Widow” Lee (live performance)
· Redskins Coach Jay Gruden
· Doug Williams
· Bob Dandridge
· Charlie Batch
· Jeff Blake
· Ken Harvey
· Gary Clark
· Audra Mari: Miss World America
· Omar Miller (HBO’s Ballers)
· Donovan Carter (HBO’s Ballers)
ABOUT FIGHT FOR CHILDREN
Fight For Children was founded more than 26 years ago and today works to improve the quality of early childhood education in Washington, DC.
Fight For Children’s signature early childhood education program, Joe’s Champs, operates in 17 schools with 50 school leaders, 225 teachers and 4,500 students.
More than 85% of children reached through Fight For Children programs come from low-income families within the District. Fight For Children works across sectors and communities to quality early childhood education experiences so that all children have the foundation necessary to succeed in third grade and beyond.
For further information, please visit www.fightforchildren.org
Round By Round Boxing will provide live coverage and updates from Fight Night DC on Thursday, November 10. Make sure to follow @RBRBoxing on Twitter and Instagram for photos and videos on fight night.
All photos by Laura Ming Wong
Alejandro "Alex" Burgos is a former Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Round By Round Boxing. He is a professional blogger, SEO Consultant and Marketing Director at Capital Practice Consulting in Washington, DC.