Combative super-bantams Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa put together for battle, writes Paul Wheeler
WHEN Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime introduced their upcoming struggle schedule final month, there have been some interesting matchups on the record. Considered one of which was the 12-rounder between WBC belt-holder Luis Nery and his fellow unbeaten super-bantamweight Brandon Figueroa. Each males like to come back ahead and let their fingers go, so count on no scarcity of motion after they collide at Dignity Well being Sports activities Park in Carson, California this Saturday (Might 15).
Final trip in September, the 2 fighters recorded victories on the identical invoice. Nery picked up the vacant WBC title by unanimously outscoring the undefeated however untested Aaron Alameda, whereas Figueroa dominated and stopped the overmatched Damien Vazquez in 10 rounds. Though Nery was a worthy winner in opposition to Alameda, his efficiency was not as dynamic as we have now turn out to be accustomed to seeing from him. The bout introduced an finish to a run of 11 consecutive inside-schedule wins for the Mexican southpaw.
For the Alameda contest, Nery had Eddy Reynoso in his nook – the coach of Canelo Alvarez and different high names. Nevertheless, in February, Nery declared that he had parted methods with Reynoso after just one struggle collectively. Having now reunited together with his former coach Ismael Ramirez, the 26-year-old desires to get again to doing what he does greatest – combating on the entrance foot and letting his fists fly.
“Loads has been totally different on this coaching camp,” Nery commented. “My knockout streak got here to an finish as a result of I wasn’t combating in my fashion. I’m being extra myself now, like I used to be throughout my knockout streak. My mentality is straightforward – it’s both me or him. I’m going to be myself and I’m going to be aggressive. I plan to win combating in my fashion. Figueroa is a risk to my future plans. I must get rid of that risk.”
For touted Texan Figueroa, this bout gives an opportunity to safe an announcement victory, as beating Nery would undoubtedly be his greatest achievement to date. The Joel Diaz-trained expertise is assured that he has what it takes to succeed on the highest stage.
“My camp has been superb and I’m in great form,” Figueroa mentioned. “I do know that Nery is a tricky fighter, however I’m 24 now, so it’s time for me to begin combating these world-class opponents. I wish to present that I belong in there with one of the best.”
Whereas Figueroa continues to be looking for a real breakout win, Nery notched his again in August 2017, when he emphatically dethroned long-reigning WBC bantamweight titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka on away turf in Japan. A fourth-round stoppage noticed the revered Yamanaka undergo a defeat for the primary time in his profession, but Nery’s pleasure was to show short-lived.
Simply over every week later, it was revealed by VADA that in a pattern supplied 19 days earlier than the struggle, the Tijuanan examined optimistic for the banned substance zilpaterol, which has similarities to the extra extensively identified clenbuterol. There was speak of the consequence doubtlessly being overturned and Nery being stripped of his belt, however he was reprieved when the WBC dominated that “all data and info result in conclude that the hostile discovering was because of consumption of contaminated meals merchandise.”
Although the WBC judged that Nery had not deliberately ingested zilpaterol, they nonetheless ordered him to participate in a rematch with Yamanaka, which happened in March 2018, as soon as extra in Japan. There was controversy once more when Nery got here in three kilos over the bantamweight restrict and needed to forfeit his title. Though he misplaced his belt, he didn’t lose the struggle, as Yamanaka was ruthlessly dispatched in two rounds and despatched into retirement.
To date, Figueroa’s most notable wins have come in opposition to Oscar Escandon and Moises Flores, who’ve each blended in good firm. The Weslaco native KO’d Escandon within the tenth spherical in September 2018, earlier than knocking out Flores within the third, 4 months later. The only real blemish on his 21-0-1 (16) file got here a year-and-a-half in the past when he was held to a break up draw by the heavy-handed Julio Ceja in a toe-to-toe thriller. The truth that Ceja missed weight by greater than 4 kilos didn’t assist Figueroa’s trigger.
The youthful brother of ex-WBC light-weight title-holder Omar Figueroa Jnr, Brandon is a switch-hitting pressure-fighter who employs a fan-friendly, all-action strategy. A tall and powerful super-bantam who can take a shot, he possesses a tireless engine, which he places to positive use by often unleashing hurtful hooks and mixtures to go and physique.
Like Figueroa, the 31-0 (24) Nery is a hard-hitting volume-puncher. He assaults with quick and livid flurries, placing a specific emphasis on the midsection. He’s a fearsome aggressor, although he has been knocked down greater than as soon as up to now.
Regardless of holding vital benefits in top and attain over Nery, Figueroa doesn’t normally struggle to his dimension by boxing from vary, as a substitute opting to interact up shut on the within. The sort of match ought to go well with the extra compact Nery, who can win a fiercely contested encounter on factors, organising a September 11 conflict with WBO titlist Stephen Fulton within the course of.
The Verdict Fulton shall be watching with curiosity from his ringside seat.
Roman heads up the supporting acts, whereas Martinez continues his schooling
JUST as in the primary occasion, the chief help pits two aggressive front-foot fighters in opposition to each other at super-bantamweight, as Daniel Roman meets Ricardo Espinoza over 10 rounds.
Roman, 28-3-1 (10), is the extra skilled of the pair, having shared a hoop with numerous noteworthy rivals. A earlier holder of the WBA and IBF belts, the Los Angeles man dropped the titles to the standard Murodjon Akhmadaliev in January final 12 months. In an in depth and compelling struggle, the 31-year-old was edged out by Akhmadaliev on a break up vote. He rebounded eight months later by unanimously outpointing the expert however past-his-best Juan Carlos Payano, though he didn’t have issues all his personal method.
Espinoza is greatest identified for participating in a give-and-take warfare with the adorned John Riel Casimero at bantamweight in April 2019. Stage on the scorecards going into the twelfth and remaining body, the 23-year-old Mexican was overwhelmed by Casimero with simply over two minutes left within the bout.
With 21 early victories from his 25 wins (in opposition to three defeats), Tijuana’s Espinoza can actually dig. Nevertheless, he may be decked, too. Each Espinoza and Roman are efficient body-punchers, however Daniel is the extra polished boxer together with his different shot choice. The powerful and well-conditioned Californian can come by on factors in an entertaining scrap.
Additionally on the invoice, the 16-0 (11) Xavier Martinez, from Sacramento, California, takes on seasoned Mexican Juan Carlos Burgos in a super-featherweight 12-rounder.
Final trip in October, the 23-year-old Martinez was given a scare by the harmful Claudio Marrero, who despatched him to the canvas twice. Martinez demonstrated his grit and willpower by bouncing again to prevail by way of unanimous verdict.
An expert since 2004, the sturdy Burgos, 33, has fought some completed adversaries, however his prime was again within the early-to-mid 2010s. Anticipate one other loss to be added to the Tijuanan’s 34-4-2 (21) ledger this weekend, with Martinez’s spiteful blows incomes him a choice victory.