MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Filipino boxer Drian "Gintong Kamao" Francisco is unhappy that their fighter will not be getting a chance to fight for a world title against WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba.
Francisco was reportedly offered the chance to fight the unbeaten Rigondeaux in the undercard of the Nonito Donaire-Jorge Arce fight on December 15.
But the Rigondeaux camp revealed yesterday that the Cuban fighter has signed a deal to fight Thai contender Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym instead of Francisco.
In an interview with Ronnie Nathanielsz of PhilBoxing, Francisco's manager Elmer Anuran claimed that Rigondeaux "refused to fight Drian after a thorough review."
"They (Rigondeaux camp) believe there's a higher risk in fighting Drian," Anuran told Nathanielsz.
In a separate PhilBoxing story, Francisco's trainer Justine Fortune expressed his frustration over the situation.
"(Rigondeaux) was not interested because Drian is awfully dangerous," Fortune said. "They are just being safe with Rigondeaux."
"(Drian) is a very, very good little fighter and he can (expletive) really, really punch, is awkward, and also tough," he added.
But according to a Boxing Scene report, it is HBO, who is set to televise the event, who shot down the Rigondeaux-Francisco fight.
"According to multiple sources... Rigondeaux approved all of the opponents that were presented by Top Rank," Boxing Scene's Rick Reeno wrote.
"Poonsawat was always the front-runner and the preferred opponent by HBO. At no time was Francisco approved by HBO, and none of the involved parties expected the network to approve him," Reeno added.
Fortune admitted that he is getting frustrated as Francisco continues to train without knowing who his future opponent is.
Francisco was supposed to fight in the undercard of the Brian Viloria-Hernan Marquez fight card on November 15 before the Rigondeaux fight came up.
"I'm getting frustrated because I like him and he's very talented, but I need to know who the hell we’re fighting," he said. "It's very difficult to prepare a fighter if I don’t know who the opponent is."