Former World Boxing Association (WBA) interim bantamweight champion Drian “Golden Fist” Francisco hopes to reboot his career with a convincing victory on February 18 against fellow Filipino Mateo Handig at the Makati Square Cinema in Pasong Tamo, Makati City.
The 34-year-old Francisco will be returning to the ring again for the first time since losing to Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0 win-loss record with 11 knockouts) via unanimous decision last November 2015 in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, USA.
“I’m happy and excited to return again. My goal is to win this match first and then my next move is to win a regional title before thinking of a world title,” Francisco (28-4-1 win-loss-draw record with 22 knockouts) told The Manila Times during interview. “I believe I still have it. All I need to do is train hard.”
Occidental Mindoro native failed to secure a fight during his one year and a month hiatus due to promotional problem.
Handig (13-12 record with seven knockouts) is from Northern Samar.
Francisco had served as sparring partner for reigning International Boxing Federation super flyweight Jerwin Ancajas in his world title defense last January 29 in Macau, China against Mexican Jose Alfredo Rodriguez. Ancajas won by a technical knockout.
The card will also feature former 2012 London Olympics Mark Anthony Barriga and Joepher Montano in separate matches. Barriga (3-0) will be fighting Jeven Villacite (4-5-4 record with one knockout) in a light flyweight bout.
Montano (7-0-2 record with six knockouts) will be meeting Junar Adante (6-6-1 record with three knockouts) in a junior welterweight fight.
JOSEF T. RAMOS