Undefeated featherweight prospect and former Cuban Olympian Luis Franco and knockout artist Leonilo Miranda both weighed in at 126 pounds during Thursday’s weigh in at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.
Franco (8-0, 5 KOs) will square off with Miranda (26-2, 25 KOs) in his toughest test to date in the 10-round featherweight main event of ShoBox: The New Generation tomorrow/Friday, Feb. 4, live on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast.
Lateef Kayode (15-0, 14 KOs) tipped the scales at 199 pounds and Nicholas Iannuzzi (16-1, 9 KOs ) measured 198 pounds for their 10-round cruiserweight co-feature. The crowd-pleasing and Freddie Roach-trained Kayode will be looking for his 15th consecutive knockout against Tampa ’s Iannuzzi.
One of boxing’s fastest rising prospects, Franco is on the inside track to challenge for a world title in 2011. The No. 9 rated World Boxing Organization (WBO) prospect, Franco is aiming to continue to step up his level of opposition in the coming year.
Miranda who has an impressive KO ratio, will be fighting in the U.S. , where he holds a 1-1 record, for just the third time.
In a division controlled by Europeans, Kayode is America ’s No. 1 cruiserweight prospect and on the USA Today and ESPN.com 2010 top prospects lists. Ranked No. 6 by the WBC and No. 4 by the WBA, Kayode is coming off a sixth-round knockout of Ed Perry in the Dec. 3 ShoBox main event. Kayode, who lives in Hollywood by way of Lagos , Nigeria , is training at the famed Wild Card Gym under Roach, who will work his corner on Friday.
The telecast will originate from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez , Calif. , and will be promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC.
What the fighters had to say on Thursday:
Luis Franco: “I think he’s (Miranda) knocked out guys who just stood in front of him. We won’t be doing that. I won’t have an issue fighting a southpaw – I fought plenty as an amateur.
“I’m going to do my fight and stick to my plan. Hopefully, it will be enough. If I get hit in the ring I’ll hit you back and hurt you. I’m not worried about his power.”
Leonilo Miranda: “We’ve been sparring with guys that have a lot of speed and power to get ready for Franco. I sparred with (Charles) Huerta and dominated him. I’m coming to fight 10 rounds, but I have the punching power to change the fight at any time.
“We’ll try for the KO if it’s there. Both losses helped me gain experience. I learned to train the right way from them.”
Lateef Kayode: “We took a week off after the last fight and a day off for Christmas. We’ve basically been in the gym the whole time. These knockouts have been a blessing for me. I’m aggressive. If I land a good shot I’m not going to stop. I’ll keep coming until the KO comes, until they are down.
“I learn a lot from my trainer (Freddie Roach). He’s made me more patient. I now know I don’t need to go for the knockout early. The more you hit me the more you’re looking for trouble. I don’t know much about this guy. I’ll just do my own thing and let it come.”
Nick Iannuzi: “This is a dream come true, something I’ve been working for since I was a little kid. Lateef is just another obstacle in my destiny. Nothing personal, but he’s just someone I need to get past. I can do it all. I can brawl, counterpunch, adjust.
“I see some weaknesses in him that I can expose. There will be some chances for me in there. I pretty much know what to expect with him. I feel like I have more experience as a pro than he has. That will be a difference maker.
“My only loss was good for me. It was a huge stepping stone for me and I won’t let it happen again. I learned a lot from it. I feel like he’s going to have a rude awakening soon, very soon.
“I need to be smart against him. I know he has some knockout power so I need to be smart. No offence to Freddie Roach, but he can only do so much. He’s not in the ring with him.”
Bernardo Osuna will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. Gordon Hall is the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Boxing News Tags: Bernardo Osuna, Boxing, Chumash Casino Resort, Freddie Roach, KO, Lateef Kayode, Leonilo Miranda, Luis Franco, New Generation, Nicholas Iannuzzi, Nick Iannuzi, Nigeria, Ranked No, Richard Gaughan, Rick Phillips, Santa Ynez, Shaw Productions, Showtime, West Coast, Wild Card