64ºF

INSIDE THE RING: Media Workout for DAZN Fight Saturday

National and local fighters meet the media ahead of Saturday’s fights in the Alamodome

San Antonio's rising boxing stars, Joshua Franco and Hector Tanajara Jr. met with the media Wednesday ahead of Saturday's DAZN broadcast.
San Antonio's rising boxing stars, Joshua Franco and Hector Tanajara Jr. met with the media Wednesday ahead of Saturday's DAZN broadcast. (KSAT 12 TV)

SAN ANTONIO – The start of 2020 begins with some great boxing in the Alamodome this weekend. Many of the fighters featured on DAZN’s fight night have already made their way to San Antonio.

Mexico’s rising star, Jaime Munguia, worked out in front of the media Tuesday at Boxers and Brawlers Gym in Leon Valley. On Wednesday, his opponent, Gary O’Sullivan, as well as some of the fighters on the undercard, met with the various media.

It was a welcomed scene of photographers, reporters, bloggers and boxing fans who hadn’t seen a big boxing match such as this in the Alamo City in quite a few years.

It’s also a homecoming for two of San Antonio’s own boxers.

Joshua Franco, who attended Brandeis High School, is coming off three-straight fights against Oscar Negrete, which ended with one win, two draws and the NABF Bantamweight title for Franco. “El Profesor” is happy to face a different foe in the ring.

“I’m really excited for that, it’s a new challenge ahead of me that I want to look good doing it, I want to look great, I’m expecting a knockout for this fight,” said Franco, who is 15-1-2 with seven knockouts.

Franco will not be putting his title belt on the line Saturday since he’s moving down in weight to face Mexico’s Jose Alejandro Burgos (17-2-0, 14 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round super flyweight bout.

“Coming off those fights (with Negrete) I have more confidence. I’m going down in weight so I feel like my power will be a little bit stronger for this fight. Honestly, since November, I’ve been training hard. I feel really solid for this fight. I haven’t felt this excited for a fight in awhile.”

Joining Franco on Saturday night’s undercard will be Holmes High School alum Hector Tanajara Jr, who is coming off his successful defense of his WBC USNBC Lightweight title belt. “El Finito” is undefeated with a 18-0 record and five knockouts and will be facing Mexican lightweight Juan Carlos Burgos, who is 33-3-2 with 21 knockouts.

“Training camp has been great,” said Tanajara Jr. who worked out in California for the first part of his camp. “I’ve been sparring with Virgil Ortiz and Jose Ramirez who has two belts at 140. I’ve been sparring with top level fighters in the gym. I finished camp here in San Antonio, getting ready with my dad the last couple of weeks. I feel real calm and I’m ready for Saturday night.”

Franco and Tanajara Jr. will be fighting in San Antonio for the first time as professional boxers and both are excited to finally fight in front of their hometown family and friends.

“It feels great, like old times in my amateur career,” said Tanajara Jr. “We feel motivated. At home we are so relaxed and more comfortable so everything feels easier getting ready for Saturday. We’re just composed and ready to go to work.”

“We’ve been talking about it, we’re like ‘it’s really happening,’” added Franco. “It feels different because we are fighting here but it’s exciting and we both can’t wait to put on a show for all of our fans.”

Also working out in front of the media this afternoon was female super middleweight fighter Franchon Crews-Dezurn, the 32-year-old featured in Saturday’s co-main event. Crews-Dezurn (6-1, 2 KOs) is the WBC Female World Super Middleweight champ who is facing Mexican middleweight Alejandra Jimenez (12-0-1, 9 KOs) who is fighting for the first time in the United States.

“It’s not about the quantity, it’s the quality” said Crews-Dezurn about facing a fighter with more career bouts. “I’ll adjust to whatever’s in front of me. I have a lot of experience too. I’m just ready to show what I got Saturday.”

“One of my mantra’s I go by is ‘same crap, different tiolet," added Crews-Dezurn. "I’ve fought with the belt, I’ve fought without a belt. I love being a world champion but in this game, if you lose one fight and they’ll forget about you. I have to keep that hunger and humility. I’m a fighter first and that’s the priority.”

The final fighter to meet with the media was Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, the 35-year-old super welterweight from Ireland. O’Sullivan (30-3, 21 KOs) will face Jaime Munguia (34-0, 27 KOs) in the main event Saturday, which is a 12-round middleweight contest.

“I’ve made a lot of sacrifices for this fight.” O’Sullivan said. “I have young children and recently purchased my first house. This was my first Christmas at home with my young kids and I was really looking forward to that but I was in training camp the majority of Christmas and the new year. I could have easily stayed home, just made weight and turned up for the paycheck. I didn’t do that. I’ve given it my all, I’m not turning up to just be a participant in this.”

O’Sullivan was really taken in by the sight of the Alamodome and the friendliness of the staff when the fight was announced during a press conference in late November. The Irishman has even admitted to rewatching the 1993 fight between Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez, which was the first major boxing event in the history of the Alamodome.

“It was a great fight and they regard that as the greatest fight to ever take place in the Alamodome.” O’Sullivan said. “I hope to rival that and maybe even with a little bit of luck surpass that and maybe we can have a right fight me and Jaime. I’m coming for war and I’m coming to win.”

Friday’s weigh-in starts at 1 p.m. at the Alamodome and is open to the public. Doors open at 4 p.m. Saturday with the first fight scheduled for 4:20 p.m. DAZN’s main broadcast will start at 8 p.m. and tickets are still available through TicketMaster.com and at the Alamodome Box Office.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 Sports for over 16 years and is an award-winning sports producer. To submit story ideas, email dvillanueva@ksat.com


About the Authors: