Inside the Mind of Brandon Figueroa

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Undefeated Brandon Figueroa shares his insights as he winds down camp for his interim WBA World Super Bantamweight Title bout versus Yonfrez Parejo Saturday night on FOX.

Undefeated Brandon Figueroa shares his insights as he winds down camp for his interim WBA World Super Bantamweight Title bout versus Yonfrez Parejo Saturday night on FOX.

At just 22-years-old, Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa (18-0, 13 KOs) faces Yonfrez Parejo (22-3-1, 11 KOs) for the interim WBA World Super Bantamweight title this Saturday, April 20, from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The bout will be broadcast as part of the Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados welterweight headliner live on FOX and FOX Deportes (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00p.m. PT).

With his 5-foot-8 frame and lengthy 72-inch reach, one might expect Figueroa to utilize a classic boxer style and keep his opponents on the outside with a long jab. Instead, Figueroa loves to get on the inside and grind his foes down with a style many modern fighters aren't used to dealing with.

“Fighting on the inside, you have to be relentless and you have to know where to place your punches,” said Figueroa. “I feel like it’s a lot harder than fighting on the outside. I know a lot of people get confused by me fighting on the inside, but for me it feels natural. I’m comfortable in the pocket. That’s where I feel like I do the most damage. When I’m inside, I go to the body and do my thing.

“A lot of fighters don’t know how to deal with that pressure and that inside style of fighting. I’ve seen a lot of prospects who are good boxers, but once you put on the pressure and get inside on them, they don’t know what to do. Me, I can box, I can brawl—I know a bit of everything so I can mix it up. If one thing’s not working for me, I can switch it up.”

However, a key component to Brandon’s style—and one that sets him apart—is that he is mindful of his defense while fighting in the pocket. He utilizes consistent head and upper body movement, slipping many of his opponent’s shots while remaining in position to throw his own.

“Part of the game is hit and not get hit. I’ve had some cuts below my eyebrow from headbutts. It’s a tactic I see from the veterans. It’s part of the game, so I’m working to get better with my defense.

“I feel like I do a bit better on the inside with fighters who are my height or taller. Shorter fighters have a little bit of the advantage there. Yonfrez Parejo is around my height, so I feel my inside game is gonna be really effective with him. Especially because he doesn’t really know how to fight on the inside. So, I’m mainly gonna focus on getting him on the inside and work him from there.”

I can box, I can brawl—I know a bit of everything so I can mix it up. Undefeated Super Bantamweight Contender - Brandon Figueroa

Outside the ring, Figueroa enjoys a lot of the same forms of entertainment as any other 22-year-old. His favorite video game is Apex Legends. When asked about his favorite fictional character in any medium, he went straight to anime.

“Naruto,” Figueroa said. “I’m an anime fan. I just finished Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.”

Brandon’s favorite movies, though not from Japan, are also animated.

“I liked Wall-E. Or Ratatouille,” Figueroa said.

Many young fighters have a lengthy list of legendary boxers who inspired them in their craft or in life. For Figueroa, the list is short—and much closer to home.

“When I was born, I was already around boxing because my dad was training my brother. Growing up, I never really watched boxing much. It was pretty boring because I was doing it every day, so I didn’t want to watch somebody else do what I already do. Obviously when big fights came on like [Floyd] Mayweather, I’d watch, but not regularly.

“My older brother [Omar Figueroa Jr.] inspired me. He was my idol, somebody I’ve looked up to.”

From his father Omar Sr., who trained both he and Omar Jr., the younger Figueroa learned a critical skill in the ring: body punching.

“Some fighters may have a good chin, but if you go to the body it’s like you pop the tire,” Brandon said. “After that, they don’t punch the same, they don’t punch with the same confidence. You break them down and they start to lower their hands because of the body work.

With a head shot, they can start to recover. But if I hit you in one round with good body shots, in the next round it can look like I hurt you with a really big shot, but, in reality, I just placed a good punch. Body shots linger and drain you. A lot of people don’t know how effective body work is.”

When watching Figueroa compete, one of the most exciting aspects of his style is his volume punching. He throws so many punches that, along with the inside work, he typically overwhelms his opponent. Most fighters simply don’t have the stamina to throw so many shots round after round.

“It’s something I’ve been working on little by little,” said Figueroa. “It comes with a lot of preparation; a lot of sparring, rounds in the gym, running, and just getting your body used to throwing a lot of punches without getting tired.”

For a closer look at Brandon Figueroa, check out his fighter page.

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