Philippines, 27 Mar 2023
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Francisco and Singwancha make weight; All set for today's title fight (Photos)

BANGKOK, Thailand -- While all eyes, ears and thoughts of the boxing world zooms-in on this week's title defense of superstar Filipino Manny Pacquiao, there is another Filipino world champion defending his boxing crown today: Drian Francisco, whom respected Texas referee Rafael Ramos called as "the next Manny Pacquiao", is set to make the first title defense of his WBA interim super flyweight title against Thai challenger Tepparith Singwancha (15-2, 10KOs) in Petchaburi, Thailand.

And all signals are already switched to GO as both figthers registered 115 lbs in their first tries during the weigh-in ceremony yesterday afternoon at the 13 Coins Hotel along Rama IX in downtown Bangkok.

For this bout, the WBA has named a panel of experienced, neutral officials who already read the WBA rules of the combat.

Supervisor of this interim world title is Mr. Alan Kim of Youngsang-Ku, Korea who is PABA Director General and WBA Committee member. The referee in charge of the action will be Mr. Rafael Ramos of Texas. The three ringside judges scoring the official cards will be Mr. Raul Caiz Jr of California, Mr. Takeshi Shimakawa of Tokyo and well-known WBA judge Don Francisco Martinez of Auckland, New Zealand.

Most opinions around the boxing media gathered here in Bangkok foresee undefeated Filipino Drian Francisco (20-0-1, 16 KOs), retaining his WBA interim crown and going forward with his crescendo boxing carreer.

One of those boxing analysts with most favorable opinions of the Agoncillo champion is veteran Japanese boxing reporter Kazuto Harada who said during the weigh-in that "Singwancha is not yet in the level of Francisco. He is not as strong as the Filipino. The last three opponents of Francisco were all very top fighters and Francisco defeated them all by KO."

It's probably for that optimism about Francisco's abilities in the ring that his manager Elmer Anuran has already big plans for his fighter, should he win tomorrow.

Top photo: WBA interim champion Drian Francisco (center, left) and Thai challenger Tepparith Singwancha pose during Saturday's weighin at the 13 Coins Hotel in Bangkok.

Drian Francisco flexes his muscles during Saturday's weighin at the 13 Coins Hotel in Bangkok.

Francisco takes a quick meal after the weighin.

Drian Francisco (L) poses with Texas referee Rafael Ramos.

Photos by Carlos Costa.

"If Drian beats Singwancha as I expect, we are most interested in taking part in a bid to fight Cazares," commented Anuran, referring to the possible WBA super flyweight title unification with Mexican warrior WBA super flyweight world champion Hugo "El Increible" Cazares (34-6-2, 24 KO's) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa.

"For the Cazares vs Francisco fight, we'd travel to bid at the WBA head office in Panama. We want to bid," said the young Anuran, president of Saved by the Bell Boxing Promotions of the Philippines.

However, confident 23-years-old challenger Tepparith Singwancha, current PABA champ and a former muay thai combatant, has all the intentions to ruin Team Francisco's travel plans to Panama.

"I want to win. I can not let down my manager (Mr. Naris Singwancha), I must win. It's a matter of honor," said the Thai challenger who is facing the most important fight of his life.

Mr. Nicolas Omatihkul, Vice President of Kokiet Group, promoter of this title fight, confirmed that the Francisco vs Singwancha will be the only match in standard boxing scheduled in this Phetchaburi card. All the preliminary clashes will be international martial art combats in Muay Thai.

Muay Thai fighters of Thailand are up against international opponents. The foreign visitors are from Valparaiso in Chile, Sao Paulo, Jiangxi in The People's Republic of China, Lyon in France and Uzbekhistan, and all of them trained at the prestigious Muay Thai Plaza Gym located near the legendary Thailand's Lumpini Stadium.

The heaviest of the Muay Thai fighers in Sunday's card is 21 years-old Brazilian Adaylton Freitas of Sao Paulo in the Jr. Middleweight category. The Chile Muay Thai fighter is 26-years-old Sunshine Solari Mardones of Valparaiso.

Drian Friancisco vs Teeparith Singwancha will be broacast live in Thailand on Channel 7. In the Philippines, this title combat will be seen on Solar Sports at 1pm.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Carlos Costa.

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