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As Southland fighter Daniel Franco remains comatose, opponent Jose Haro says ‘my heart hurts’

Featherweight fighter Jose Haro, right, beat Daniel Franco with an eighth-round knockout on Saturday. Franco later underwent surgery to stop two brain bleeds suffered in loss and remained in a medically induced coma to relieve pressure in his skull Monday.
(Courtesy of Stacey Verbeek)

“My heart hurts,” featherweight Jose Haro said in a statement about the Southland’s Daniel Franco, who is comatose following emergency surgery after Haro knocked him out in the eighth round Saturday in Iowa.

“I hope he has a full and speedy recovery,” Haro, 30, of Utah, said in a statement issued through his promotional representative. “We put everything on the line when we step inside the ring.

“I always tell my brother-trainer that I’m a father first, fighter second, and if he ever sees me badly hurt to stop the fight because my kids need their daddy.

“I’m very grateful that I won, but it really didn’t feel like I won. I always pray that my opponent and myself come out [of] our fight in good health. Let’s go #TeamFranco, you got this!”

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The toll of an opponent’s injury can wear heavily on a fighter. Unbeaten super-welterweight Terrel Williams of Los Angeles hasn’t fought since his 2015 opponent, Prichard Colon, slipped into a coma immediately after their fight.

Franco, 25, underwent surgery to stop two brain bleeds suffered in the knockout loss and remained in a medically induced coma to relieve pressure in his skull Monday.

Franco was dropped by a right-handed punch from Haro (13-1-1) in the eighth round at WinnaVegas Casino and Resort in Sloan, Iowa, in a bout televised by CBS Sports’ cable network.

Haro had previously knocked down Franco in the eighth. Franco briefly rose after the knockout punch, he was taken from the ring on a stretcher.

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Daniel Franco, left, sits facing Jose Haro following their featherweight fight Saturday in Iowa.
(Courtesy of Stacey Verbeek)

In a Sunday statement released by Franco’s promoter, RocNation Sports, his manager, Ray Chaparro said from a local hospital, “At this point, the doctors have told us the next 48 hours will be critical in regards to making a complete recovery.

“We ask for prayers from the boxing community at this time.”

Franco’s father has sought help to cover medical costs on gofundme.com.

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RocNation President Michael Yormark describes Franco (16-2-3, 11 KOs) as “a tenacious talent and champion.”

Franco has fought at venues in Pomona, Ontario and Corona. He rebounded from a knockout loss in Los Angeles in March to win by first-round knockout in May.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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