Unbeaten 122-pound contender talks about overcoming a recent shoulder injury, standing outside of his older bro's shadow and his big opportunity to headline Sunday night's PBC on FS1 card.
Unbeaten contender Brandon Figueroa is confident of scoring a knockout victory against former champion Oscar Escandon in their 122-pound main event on Sunday night's PBC on FS1 card (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
Figueroa is the younger brother of former lightweight champion Omar Figueroa Jr., and trained by their father, Omar Sr., in their native Weslaco, Texas. The 21-year-old Figueroa (16-0, 11 KOs) is making a quick turnaround following a first-round stoppage of Luis Roy Suarez Cruz on August 4.
Nicknamed “The Heartbreaker” for his matinee idol looks, the 5-foot-8 Figueroa favors a Mexican brawling, close-quarters, body-battering style, but may use distance and switch-hitting to foil the rugged, 5-foot-1 Escandon (25-4, 17 KOs) of Colombia.
How does Oscar Escandon rank in terms of magnitude and difficulty?
This is definitely one of my biggest fights being for the WBA’s 122-pound Intercontinental title, and against a former champion and a veteran like Oscar Escandon.
I’m training with my Dad at his gym in here in Weslaco, and about a month ago I got in some good work with my friend, Joshua Franco.
Have you seen Escandon’s past two knockout losses to Tugstsogt Nayambayar and Gary Russell?
My assistant coach is the one who showed me the fight with Nayambayar, but from what I’ve seen, Escandon is a come-forward fighter.
I was also able to see that Nayambayar and Gary Russell were able to hit him with the overhand right pretty easily, so this is definitely a step up, but not anything that I’m not ready for.
Will your height or 72-inch reach to Escandon’s 66-inch reach be a factor or the fact that he’s coming down from 126 pounds?
I’ll definitely use my height and other physical skills and advantages to my good use. As far as the weight, I expect to put some back on by fight night.
But I don’t really know if his weight or mine will be a factor. That’s for him to worry about. In the end, though, I’m ready to fight, and I don’t think weight be an issue.
What do you say to critics who might say that you’re too young and inexperienced for a fight of this magnitude?
I’ve never felt more ready for any fight than I am for this one. I get stronger, smarter and better the more difficult my opponent is. But people have doubted and underestimated me for my entire career, and I’ve just given it my all.
They’ve said I’m too skinny, too scrawny, too young, too inexperienced, too small, or that I’m just getting attention because of my older brother, Omar. But this is why I train hard and do what I do, and on September 30, I think I’ll continue to impress a lot of people and have another big surprise.
How far will you be from a title shot if you’re as impressive as you expect to be against Escandon?
I don’t know. I know that my Dad wants me to fight again in December, and I’m all for it. So I’ll just consider my options after this fight.
I feel super confident, really strong, my health is great, and my power is awesome after having a procedure done to correct some shoulder problems.
“ They’ve said I’m too skinny, too scrawny, too young, too inexperienced, too small, or that I’m just getting attention because of my older brother, Omar. But on September 30, I think I’ll continue to impress a lot of people and have another big surprise. ” Unbeaten 122-pound contender Brandon Figueroa
What was your shoulder issue?
Before my last fight, I was having some pain in my right shoulder. They said there was some buildup in the tendons.
After getting that corrected about a month and a half before my last fight, I’m ready for any adverse situation. That was the only thing that was holding me back was my shoulder.
Will you pursue a crown at 122 and, later, 126?
More than likely I’ll compete for a title at 122 pounds first, but I feel great, and wherever there’s an opportunity, I’ll go after it.
But I’m in no rush. I do believe, however, that as the time continues to go by, I’ll continue to get stronger, better and smarter.
How motivated are you following last month’s first-round knockout of Luis Roy Suarez Cruz, who was 13-0 with eight knockouts?
I caught him with an overhand right and then finished him off with combination of punches. I’m ready to do similarly against Escandon.
But that last fight went by so quickly, and I had been training since the beginning of May, so I told my Dad that I was ready to keep going.
Will your switch-hitting abilities be a factor against Escandon?
I definitely feel that my ability to switch from lefty to right-handed can be a factor because I can create openings for my left to the body and apply pressure by hitting him from all angles.
I’m just going to keep my distance, box him and see what opens up as I go along, but I definitely believe that I can finish him off with a knockout.
How do you break down this fight with Escandon?
Obviously, I’ve got some great bodywork that’s been effective for me, so I see myself breaking him down and stopping him, sooner or later.
Of course, I can try to catch him with that overhand right. That’s a weak point of his, but I wanna say that I’ll get him out of there before the fourth round.
For a closer look at Figueroa vs Escandon, check out our fight page.