Brandon Figueroa announced his arrival with authority at the top level of the junior featherweight division.
An emphatic 7th round knockout win over two-division titlist Luis Nery (31-1, 24KOs) answered any questions as to whether the unbeaten Texan could rise to the occasion. At 5’8” and still growing into his man strength at just 24 years of age, the next question is if he can still make weight long enough to give himself a chance to run the table.
“At this point, I believe I can stick around at 122 long enough to become undisputed champion,” Figueroa insisted to BoxingScene.com. “Of course, my body is growing. I’m getting more muscle mass. But I want to stay long enough to get all of the belts.”
Figueroa (22-0-1, 17KOs) entered Saturday evening with a secondary version of the WBA title, leaving the Showtime-televised headliner with Nery’s WBC belt in tow. A fistic shootout at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California saw Figueroa pick up steam as the bout progressed, timing Nery perfectly with a right to the chin and a left uppercut to the solar plexus to produce a career-best win.
Next up for the division’s youngest titlist is a September 11 showdown versus unbeaten WBO champ Stephen Fulton (19-0, 8KOs). As was the case with Tijuana’s Nery prior to the fight, Fulton will be a considerable favorite to prevail in their unification clash later this year.
Figueroa was confident of producing a win on Saturday, and equally certain of his ability to collect another title in September. Should that prove true, the next demand would be for an undisputed showdown versus WBA “Super/IBF champ Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7KOs). Such a fight likely wouldn’t take place until 2022, though Figueroa vows it to be an attainable goal.
“It’s a lot of dedication and discipline to make this weight and it takes that same work to be the best fighter in the world at 122 pounds,” notes Figueroa. “I’ll move up when the time is right. For now, my main goal is to become undisputed champion at 122 pounds and I’m prepared to put in the hard work to make my dreams come true.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox