2018 was an up-and-down year for Joshua Franco (14-1-1, 7 KOs) to say the least.
After going undefeated through the first 13 fights of his career he tasted defeat for the first time at the hands of Lucas Emanuel Fernandez Leone via ninth-round stoppage.
Three months later he responded with a fifth-round knockout of Isao Gonzalo Carranza that placed him back on track.
That win propelled him to his biggest fight to date against one time title challenger Oscar Negrete. The bout was also his chance to grab gold on a much smaller level in the NABF Bantamweight title.
It was a great performance by Franco as he battled the champion tooth and nail while experiencing plenty moments of success. With that being said, he had to settle for a split draw which once again set him back on his quest for a title.
Franco had mixed emotions regarding that fight. Franco believed he did enough to get the nod, but he also acknowledged that he could have done a bit more.
“I thought I won the fight but Negrete he was the champion he had the belt,” said Franco during a recent phone interview with Round By Round Boxing. “It was a close fight the rounds were close. Re-watching the fight I feel like I should’ve done more to make the win more clear. It is what it is, it’s a learning experience.”
Although disappointed in the draw, his stock still managed to rise. He fought an absolute barn burner with a proven veteran. He also showed he had what it takes to compete with anyone at the Bantamweight division.
For Franco, he will get a chance to start his 2019 campaign by avenging his lone defeat to Lucas Emanuel Fernandez Leone when the two meet for a rematch on January 26.
“I’m working extra hard for this fight but there isn’t really anything special that he does,” said Franco. “He does have power but when I fought him it was clear that I was winning the fight but I got careless.”
Assuming everything goes the way he expects in his upcoming fight, Franco plans on making 2019 a big one.
“If I perform well in this fight I want to get a title shot,” said Franco. “After that maybe a rematch with Negrete. I know the skill that I have and I feel that I can get any belt at 115.”
Lofty goals Franco has set for himself. His road to a title shot begins on January 26. Franco will take the victory no matter the form.
“I see a stoppage,” said Franco. “But I just want to win the fight.”
For Joshua Franco, 2019 will either begin with another step towards gold or a major step backwards.