Daniel Franco in action tonight in Washington, D.C.
There is no sibling rivalry between Michael and Daniel Franco.
If there was, Michael made sure it would eventually bring out the best out of his younger brother.
It has so far. All the training sessions between the two at the gym or in their home while growing up have molded Daniel into a legit prospect who continues to get better with each outing.
He faces his first significant test tonight when he squares off against Derrick Murray in a 10-round featherweight bout at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.
As if his improving skill-set is something opponents must be wary of, Daniel Franco (14-0-3, nine knockouts) utilizes his physical abilities in the ring as well.
Franco 5’9″, which is tall for a featherweight, but he relies on his strength to employ an effective boxer-puncher style.
The 24-year-old has been more aggressive in recent fights, scoring knockout victories. In his last bout on Aug. 6, Franco knocked out Marcello Gallardo in the fifth round.
He faces Murray, who has also built an unbeaten record, although Franco has faced the better opposition on paper.
Tonight will mark the second fight for Franco outside Southern California, but with a regional title belt on the line, Franco does not mind fighting outside familiar surroundings.
“If Derrick Murray is who I have to go through to win a title, so be it,” Franco told RingTV.com earlier this week. “I’m more than ready. I know he was a very good amateur, but I’m going to do what is necessary to uncover his weaknesses so I could outbox him.”
While prospects at his level enjoy the perks of fighting in and around their hometown to appease family and friends, Franco looks at this opportunity to build his fan base outside the Riverside area, one of the many boxing hotbeds in Southern California.
“I don’t mind fighting outside of California,” said Franco, who is one of a handful of prospects promoted by Roc Nation. “In fact, I get my name out this way. Fight fans from the East Coast can watch me fight and I gain their support. I have an aggressive style they like.”
He earned that style sparring older brother Michael growing up. Michael was another top amateur prospect who found modest success, winning his first fight 19 fights as a pro before losing to Orlando Cruz in in October of 2011.
Michael has not fought since, but is never far away from a boxing gym. He is found in Daniel’s corner, along with their father Al.
“We would spar in the gym or in our backyard while we were growing up. He would outbox and get the better of me, but I began to hold my own. Soon I began to land more punches. I had to learn at a young age to hold my ground and fight.”
All those sparring sessions seem to give Daniel that psychological edge, but he is coming into his own as a fighter.
A win over Murray would open doors to televised fights in 2017 against bigger names. While boxing may be an individual sport, he thanks his brother for pushing him in the ring, physically and mentally.
“My brother still gives me advice. He’ll always be in my corner. I know what he says is not to bug me.”
“He just wants the best for me. I’ll always appreciate that.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing