The role of a boxing trainer has been nothing short of priceless in the lives of countless fighters and practitioners around the world. Legendary trainers such as Angelo Dundee, Emmanuel Steward, Cus D’Amato, and Freddie Roach have overseen the careers of many of the world’s most beloved, revered, and feared men inside the ropes.
Here at Evolve MMA in Singapore, WBA Boxing World Champion Drian Francisco has hopes of emulating the greats and overseeing the progression of rising stars of boxing and MMA all the way to the glory of world titles and true greatness.
Drian is no stranger to success. As a WBA Boxing World Champion, WBO Asia Pacific Champion, WBA International Champion, and IBF Pan Pacific Champion, he knows what it takes to truly make it in the “sweet science”. In his role with Evolve MMA, Drian hopes to share his deep knowledge and understanding of the sport with those who need it most.
But where did it all start for the fighter born in San Jose Occidental, Mindoro, in the Philippines?
“As a child, I had a very happy upbringing. Family life is important to me, so being around my parents and brothers was a blessing. From a young age, my dream was very simple. I was happy as long as I was with my family and didn’t care for riches. A simple life is what made me happy, and I knew that I would be satisfied so long as I could help my family along the way and make them proud of me.”
Drian started boxing at an early age. He was spurred on by the help of his father, who also enjoyed success inside the ropes.
“I started boxing when I was six years old and enjoyed my first taste of boxing at this age. My father (Joe) was a professional boxer, and this helped me a lot. Although I was nervous, to begin with, my father taught me boxing fundamentals very well, and these are what helped me become the fighter I was.
“Once I started, I became less nervous. My father’s guidance was a major reason why I became a World Champion inside the ropes.”
Drian was known for his heavy hands and aggressive style in the squared circle. Over the course of a successful 36 fight career, “Gintong Kamao” – which translates to “Golden Fist” – fought a number of boxing greats. Among his toughest opponents were the Cuban all-time great, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Roberto Vásquez, who he beat via 10th round TKO.
“Boxing is a sport that relies on a fighter being strong, both physically and mentally. A fighter must be smart, too. But, the most important tool required for a fighter is discipline – you must be able to conquer yourself before you can beat another fighter. You have to train hard and always remain focused. This is what makes boxing so interesting to me.”
Boxing today is stacked with exciting fighters, and there is a wealth of talent currently operating in the sport. Of all the boxers out there, Drian believes that pound-for-pound number one, Vasyl Lomachenko, is the most outstanding.
“Vasyl, for me, is a superstar. I am a big fan of his style, especially his hand speed, footwork, and balance. He is technically excellent, and it is very difficult to try to work out a game plan to beat him.”
Now at Evolve MMA in Singapore as a boxing instructor, Drian is training the next generation of upcoming fighters as they progress in their careers. Having been there and worn the t-shirt, his understanding of boxing – and the physical and mental requirements it takes for a fighter to succeed – is crucial to ensuring his students are best equipped for battle.
Drian emphasizes the importance of preparation, focus, the right training, and ambition to those learning from him.
“All boxers have fear before they enter the ring. As you do not know what will happen once the bell rings, it is natural to be anxious. But, if you are well prepared and have the right focus and game plan, that fear will go after the first round. If you know what you need to do to win and have worked hard enough in training, you will be more confident. Training hard will give you the confidence you need to fight to the best of your abilities.
Of course, talent is number one when it comes to being a boxer. But what good is talent as a fighter if you cannot overcome your own mind and fears? What good is talent if you cannot overcome the many challenges that come your way?”
The mental side of boxing is something that the World Champion understands and hopes to teach to his students in Singapore. The importance of having goals and setting the bar high are things that are crucial to any fighter who wants to make it as a professional in his or her own career.
Of course, honing fighters’ techniques to be the best and most adaptable fighters they can be are also things that Drian sees as vitally important when it comes to the sport he loves.
“You, as a fighter, need to think big and do it. Fight smart. Boxing is the sweet science, so you have to possess the technique if you are to beat fighters of all styles inside the ring. You have to use your brain and be prepared at all times, as well as be able to adapt.”
It is clear that Drian lives and breathes boxing. His love for the sport keeps him involved in boxing, and he hopes that he can transform his enthusiasm and expertise into the fuel to help the next generation of boxers and strikers in Singapore perfect their own talents.
“Once you are involved in boxing and love boxing – whether you are a fighter, trainer, or promoter – you will always want to be part of it.
“Now, I am happy to be part of the Evolve team and hope to help train fighters here to become the best they can be. My ambition is to help create a World Champion boxer while in my role with Evolve MMA.
If you want to learn the art of boxing under WBA Boxing World Champion Drian Francisco, or any other World Champion at Evolve MMA, sign up for a trial class now!
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