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K0077 BC-BOX-FRANCO 07-14 0505

Boxing

Cuban defector set for debut

MIAMI — With the venerable Versailles restaurant in Little Havana as the backdrop, the local Cuban and boxing community welcomed its newest member.

Luis Franco, one of the best amateurs to come out of Cuba in the past decade, is the latest boxer to defect from the island nation known for its boxing and baseball.

The 27-year-old featherweight was introduced to the media Tuesday by officials from Hollywood, Fla.-based Seminole Warriors Boxing and Miami-based Bad Dog Productions, who will co-promote Franco’s pro debut on the July 31 card at the Seminole Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood.

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"This is a dream come true," said Franco, a 2000 world junior champion. "I am surprised at how many Cuban boxers from the Olympics are here now. It makes me happy that this is my home, too."

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