By Robert Coster
“Incredibly talented,” is how promoter Gary Shaw described featherweight Luis Franco (8-0, 5 KOs), the Cuban ex-amateur star and Olympian, when he signed him in October 2010. In fact, Shaw and manager Henry Foster are so confident in their boxer’s ability that they have had no qualms about putting the undefeated Franco in against devastating and experienced Mexican puncher Leonilo Miranda (32-2, 30 KOs) on February 4th in Santa Ynez, CA in a bout that will be nationally televised on SHOWTIME’s “ShoBox: The New Generation.
Among the fighters the 28-year-old Franco defeated in the amateur ranks (where he compiled a 378-22 record) are fellow Cuban stars Yuriorkis Gamboa and Erislandy Lara. In view of his extensive amateur experience, Franco has been moved along very quickly by his handlers; in only his fifth pro bout, Luis defeated former title contender Walter Estrada (35-12), followed by rugged Yogli Herrera (22-11) and prospects Wilton Hilario (12-1-1) and Eric Hunter (15-1).
In the fight with Hunter, Franco notched his first pro title, the WBO Intercontinental title, a victory which has led the Cuban boxer-puncher to be ranked 9th by the WBO and 13th by the IBF. Describing Franco’s skills and talent, trainer Orlando Cuellar had this to say about his ward “Luis has all the tools to go all the way. Super speed that dazzles his opponents, ring intelligence, a great right hand plus he can physically do anything, fight any style. He is definitely going to put his name on the map this year.”