SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio area continues to put the boxing world on notice.
Joshua Franco (17-1-2, 8 KOs) overpowered previously undefeated champion Andrew Moloney (21-1, 14 KOs) to capture the WBA "regular" super flyweight title Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
"It's been really exciting," Franco said over a Zoom call. "Really crazy. It hit me (Thursday) I'm a World Champion. It's a crazy feeling."
"And New" are two of the greatest words a young boxer can hear in the ring. The 24-year-old San Antonio native, nicknamed El Profesor, was full of emotions after the 12-round bout.
"It was a crazy moment," Franco said. "A lot of excitement came into my body. I can't describe how I felt. I was pushing myself 110%. I was pushing myself to the limit in the gym every day because it was going to be a world title shot and I had to give it my all. Not everyone gets an opportunity to fight for a world title."
Franco is now the fifth San Antonio boxer to bring home a belt. He joins Mario Barrios, "Jesse" James Leija, John Michael Johnson and Robert Quiroga as the only individuals to accomplish the feat.
"It means a lot to me. I was born and raised in San Antonio. There are very few champions that come out of San Antonio and to be one of those few champions—it's history," said Franco, who has since returned home to the Alamo City. "It's a good feeling. I love my city and thank you to the city for all the support."
Before Barrios won, the city waited two-plus decades for a champion; now, it's witnessed two of its own take world championship in a span of less than 10 months. San Antonio is surging back onto the boxing scene.
"The future is bright for San Antonio for boxing," Franco said. "We have a lot of talent coming out of San Antonio, a lot of young fighters that have a lot of talent. And when they turn pro and start making noise, there will be more champions coming."