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The undefeated super welterweight is closing in on title contention but must first get past the toughest test of his career, Kevin Salgado Jr., in a battle of unbeatens Sunday, September 4 on FOX.

Joey Spencer's career nearly ended before it began. 

Doesn’t seem like it considering that today, at just 22 years old, he’s 14-0 (10 KOs), a two-time PBC Prospect of the Year, and a soon-to-be contender in a crowded super welterweight division if he beats the undefeated Kelvin Salgado on Sunday, September 4.

All of that might not have happened if not for a fortunate twist of fate. Spencer was one of the world’s best amateurs, amassing a 90-10 record, winning nine national titles and being simultaneously ranked No. 1 in the country in two different weight classes. 

Then, in 2017, the Minnesota native moved to California while nursing a left shoulder injury that required seeing a specialist over the summer. They discovered that he’d been boxing with a severely torn labrum for five years. 

“It got to the point where I couldn’t even lift it. There was no more fighting for me unless I got it repaired,” Spencer recalled. “The surgeons (in Minnesota) misdiagnosed my problem, and if they would’ve repaired it the way they were going to, I would have been screwed up. I would’ve needed another surgery; I would’ve been off three years.”

In California, Spencer and his team connected with a physical therapist named Lisa, who had the credentials he was looking for to fix his ailment. It just so happens that she performed a similar procedure on Andre Ward, one of Spencer’s favorite fighters growing up. 

“That was five years ago. My shoulder has been perfect ever since,” Spencer said. “I’d never planned to meet Andre out there, but (Lisa) surprised me. She had put in a word for me after I sparred with one of Virgil Hunter’s guys the next day at his Gym. We were supposed to leave that week. The next day, Verge called my dad and asked us to stay. It was just out of nowhere. I was supposed to go home. I was only 16; it was a no-brainer. So I lived basically the rest of my teenage years out there training and getting ready to turn pro.

“At that time, it was at its busiest when it was (Andre) Berto, (Amir) Khan, (Andrzej) Fonfara, and Kid Chocolate (Peter Quillin). Andre was fighting the (Sergey) Kovalev fights, and I got to just sit and be a fly on the wall for all those camps. Through that, Virgil hooked us up with Al Haymon, and the rest is history.”

Like many young fighters, Spencer gets routinely compared to any number of guys. As a Michigan native, he says he’s even been accused of trying to replicate Floyd Mayweather’s use of the shoulder roll. But the first two boxers he idolized were two he resembles with his all-business demeanor. 

In a sport – really, a world – that continually emphasizes seemingly anything but the actual work, Spencer chooses to focus on the craft, depending on that to speak for his stardom. As a result, he’s been drawn to the aforementioned Ward, but there was another International Boxing Hall of Famer before him. 

“Miguel Cotto was my first favorite fighter ever,” Spencer smiled. “If I’m tired, if I’m forgetting why I love the sport so much, I’ll go back and watch old Cotto fights that I watched growing up. It almost makes me emotional. He just had a spirit about him that was different.

I’m trying to break into the contender stages and put the division on notice. Undefeated Super Welterweight - Joey Spencer

“Andre Ward was my second favorite fighter. He did the Super Six around the time I was about 12 years old. And he had a big influence on me because he was a Christian, and I grew up in a Christian household. I looked up to him for that as much as the boxing. I wanted to be like him and the way that he carried himself.”

In a super welterweight class that features blue-chippers like 24-year-old WBC Interim Champion Sebastian Fundora and 21-year-old Jesus Ramos, Spencer believes that what separates him is his versatility. 

“I really feel like the difference is that the fighters I fight in the division aren’t going to necessarily be able to prepare for the Joey that is coming to fight them on the specific night,” Spencer said. 

“They all have different styles, but they’re all pretty consistent with the way that they fight. I feel like I can bring different styles to the ring depending on who I fight. That was the way that my dad trained me since I was a kid. He would force me to fight in different styles no matter what I wanted to do so that I’d be able to change it up depending on who I’m fighting.”

Up next is the toughest challenge of his career, a showdown versus Salgado in a 10-round showdown highlighting PBC action live on FOX and FOX Deportes (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

The fight will lead up to a stacked FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) headlined by the highly anticipated heavyweight clash between former unified heavyweight world champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and top contender Luis Ortiz meeting in a WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.

It’s a major opportunity for Spencer to shine on a big card.

“I’m trying to break into the contender stages and put the division on notice that I’ve arrived and I’m ready for those big fights, and I want those fights immediately after this fight,” Spencer said. “I think (Salgado) beat (Tony) Harrison. It was a close fight. So if I can go out there and make a statement against him and beat him in dominant fashion, then I feel like that puts me on a higher level.”

And if he wins, Spencer already has his next opponent in mind. “I personally think Tim Tszyu is a logical next fight for me if I what I want to and am preparing to do in this fight because we’re both kind of in a similar place. He’s probably a step further than I am. But at the same time, he’s kind of lobbying for a fight with (Jermell) Charlo. But I don’t really feel like he’s fully earned that yet. I feel like he’s got to fight someone else, so why not me?”

For a closer look at Joey Spencer, check out his fighter page. 

See More: Sat, Oct 08, 2022

Fundora vs Ocampo

SAT, OCT 08, 2022 Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California

Sebastian Fundora photo
Carlos Ocampo photo

    • Record
    • Sebastian Fundora 19-0-1
    • Carlos Ocampo 34-1-0
    • KOs (KO %)
    • Sebastian Fundora 13 (65%)
    • Carlos Ocampo 22 (62.86%)
    • Weight
    • Sebastian Fundora 153.5 lbs (69.77 kg)
    • Carlos Ocampo 154 lbs (70 kg)
    • Height
    • Sebastian Fundora 6'" (1.97 m)
    • Carlos Ocampo 5'10½" (1.79 m)
    • Reach
    • Sebastian Fundora 80" (203 cm)
    • Carlos Ocampo 73" (185 cm)
    • Stance
    • Sebastian Fundora Southpaw
    • Carlos Ocampo Orthodox
    • Age
    • Sebastian Fundora 24
    • Carlos Ocampo 26

Watch the Fight

LIVE ON SHOWTIME

Sat, Oct 8, 2022

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Sat, Oct 8, 2022

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Adames vs Montiel

SAT, OCT 08, 2022 Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California

Carlos Adames photo
Juan Macias Montiel photo

Middleweights Carlos Adames and Juan Macias Montiel will square off for the Interim WBC Middleweight Title in the co-main event.

    • Record
    • Carlos Adames 21-1-0
    • Juan Macias Montiel 23-5-2
    • KOs (KO %)
    • Carlos Adames 16 (72.73%)
    • Juan Macias Montiel 23 (76.67%)
    • Weight
    • Carlos Adames 157 lbs (71.36 kg)
    • Juan Macias Montiel 160 lbs (72.73 kg)
    • Height
    • Carlos Adames 5'11" (1.8 m)
    • Juan Macias Montiel 6'1" (1.85 m)
    • Reach
    • Carlos Adames 73" (185 cm)
    • Juan Macias Montiel 74" (188 cm)
    • Stance
    • Carlos Adames Orthodox
    • Juan Macias Montiel Orthodox
    • Age
    • Carlos Adames 28
    • Juan Macias Montiel 28

Watch the Fight

LIVE ON SHOWTIME

Sat, Oct 8, 2022

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Sat, Oct 8, 2022

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Martinez vs Ancajas 2

SAT, OCT 08, 2022 Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California

Fernando Daniel Martinez photo
Jerwin Ancajas photo

IBF Junior Bantamweight World Champion Fernando Martinez meets former champion Jerwin Ancajas in a highly-anticipated 12-round rematch to open the telecast.

    • Record
    • Fernando Daniel Martinez 14-0-0
    • Jerwin Ancajas 32-2-2
    • KOs (KO %)
    • Fernando Daniel Martinez 8 (57.14%)
    • Jerwin Ancajas 22 (62.86%)
    • Weight
    • Fernando Daniel Martinez 115 lbs (52.27 kg)
    • Jerwin Ancajas 115 lbs (52.27 kg)
    • Height
    • Fernando Daniel Martinez 5'2" (1.57 m)
    • Jerwin Ancajas 5'6" (1.68 m)
    • Reach
    • Fernando Daniel Martinez 64" (163 cm)
    • Jerwin Ancajas 66½" (169 cm)
    • Stance
    • Fernando Daniel Martinez Orthodox
    • Jerwin Ancajas Southpaw
    • Age
    • Fernando Daniel Martinez 31
    • Jerwin Ancajas 30

Watch the Fight

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Sat, Oct 8, 2022

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Sat, Oct 8, 2022

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Lipinets delivers dominant performance in this WBC Super Lightweight title eliminator and the brave Figueroa hangs up the gloves afterward.

They were preparing for a fight. They both were sorely in need of a victory. A week ago, Omar Figueroa Jr. and Sergey Lipinets were each searching for their first victory in two years. They just did not think that they would be fighting each other to get there.

Figueroa, the former WBC lightweight titlist, and Lipinets, the former IBF 140-pound champion, battled in a 12-round WBC super lightweight title eliminator Saturday night on SHOWTIME in a Premier Boxing Champions event from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Lipinets, a late replacement for Adrien Broner, handed Figueroa his third-straight loss with an eighth-round stoppage victory.

Both Lipinets (17-2-1, 13 KOs) and Figueroa could not get out of the way of each other.

But it was Lipinets who inflicted far more punishment, landing 172/517 (33%) total punches to Figueroa’s 44/475 (9%) total tally.

Those numbers speak volumes.

“I did well considering that he caught me with a good punch early on,” Lipinets said. “I had a good fighter in front of me. My hat's off to Omar for being a warrior; 140 is my weight. I came back. I’m back.”

As soon as the opening bell sounded, the pair immediately met at the center of the ring and went right after each other, fighting inches apart. Figueroa (28-3-1, 19 KOs) had no problem putting his head down on Lipinets’ shoulder and whaling away at the body. A Lipinets left hook made Figueroa rethink that approach.

With 1:11 left in the second round, Lipinets dropped Figueroa for the second time in his career with a blunt right hand.

“The punch that rocked Omar is the punch that my trainer and I have been working on for a long time,” Lipinets said. “He came at me and it was the perfect time to use it.”

In the first minute of the sixth, Lipinets backed Figueroa into the ropes with a big right hand. A minute later, Figueroa plowed a right of his own into Lipinets.

Between the seventh and eighth rounds, Omar Figueroa Sr., Omar Jr.’s trainer and father, warned his son that he would stop the fight if he did not see his son defend himself.

After the eighth, that was it. Omar Sr. waved it over.

“I’m very disappointed about the outcome,” Omar Jr. said. “My team and I worked so hard during this training camp. My body has reached its limit. I’ve been doing this for 27 years and my body has finally said enough. I’m just sorry I’ve disappointed the fans.

“The change of opponents didn’t affect me. I think I’ve reached the end of the line here in boxing. It occupied my life for 27 years. My body just gave up. It didn’t respond.

“My daughter was born earlier today. I’m happy that I got to enjoy this last camp. I had a great time. Lipinets was tough, he's a tough fighter. He's really strong and he came to fight. My body just didn't respond. Not much else to say.

“I have no idea what's next. I'm working on a couple things. I have a book that I'm working on, and maybe I'll be able to give people a little more insight on my life. There's so much more that's part of who I am, and maybe that's part of why it came to such an abrupt end like this."

Alberto Puello makes history as the first Dominican Republic Super Lightweight World Champion

Alberto Puello made his point. One time in the past, apparently, he wanted to work with Joel Diaz, trainer of Batyr Akhmedov, to get in some work. Apparently, Puello was rejected for “not being good enough,” Puello said.  

The Dominican Republic super lightweight proved that, apparently, he is, by beating Diaz’s fighter, Akhmedov, for the WBA vacant super lightweight title that Josh Taylor vacated by split-decision, winning 117-111 on the scorecards of Benoit Roussel and Mark Streisand, overruling Lisa Giampa’s 115-113 score for Akhmedov.

Puello (21-0, 10 KOs) made history by becoming the first 140-pound Dominican Republic world champion.

After he won, Puello motioned to Akhmedov’s corner, pointing his finger.

“I reacted to Akhmedov’s corner because Joel Diaz once told me I had no talent, and he didn’t let me join his team. I proved him wrong,” Puello explained. “I knew it was a close fight, and I just kept the distance and kept the pressure on the jab tonight and that helped me get the victory.

“All my conditioning in training is what helped me near the end of the fight. I executed what I did my entire training camp,” Puello said. “My preparation was the key to last the 12 rounds. I mixed it up, sometimes counterpunching and some other times coming forward.

“This win means a lot to me. This is a big thing for us Dominicans because my friend Hector Garcia and I are bringing two titles back home.”

Puello and Akhmedov provided great back-and-forth action, with the lanky Puello starting well, using accurate punching, picking at Akhmedov’s head and body. He used the middle of the ring very well.

By the fourth, Akhmedov (9-2, 8 KOs) looked like he was ready to pull the fight in his favor, ruling the latter portion of the sixth, when he pounded Puello with body shots pinning him against the ropes.

Akhmedov would lower his head and bore his way in, chopping at Puello’s midsection. But Akhmedov could never really close the distance to get inside, where he was most effective.

Hector Garcia captures the WBA Super Featherweight World Championship

Six months ago, very few in boxing knew who southpaw Hector Garcia was, when he came on as a late replacement to fight then-undefeated Chris Colbert. On two weeks’ notice, Garcia pulled off one of the biggest upsets in 2022 by beating Colbert.

It’s safe to say the boxing world knows who Garcia is now, after he throttled defending champion Roger Gutierrez in a unanimous 12-round decision to capture the WBA World Super Featherweight title and become the fourth Dominican Republic fighter to be a super featherweight world champion.

Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs) left little doubt. He easily controlled the initial three-quarters of the fight before Gutierrez (26-4-1, 20 KOs) came on late, which translated into unanimous scores of 118-110 on judge Fred Fluty’s scorecard, and 117-111 by judges Alex Levin and Mike Ross.

“It was fair for God to give me this opportunity,” Garcia said. “I worked really hard for it. A lot of sacrifices along the way. I’m thankful to PBC, Bob Santos, Luis DeCubas Jr., my team.

“It means a lot to me to win this title. I dedicate it to my people, the entire Dominican Republic and my town, San Juan de Maguana. In the pros, nobody knew me. But in the amateurs, people knew my name. I went to the Olympics – it was my dream. I had a good run.

“(Gutierrez) was looking for the right punch to take me down, but I was able to dominate, dictate the pace of the fight and get the win.”

The 30-year-old Dominican started well, using distance, being first, and coming at the champion. Garcia used a pair of straight lefts that connected in the fourth, putting another round in the books for the challenger. He used sneaky lefts to tap Gutierrez, who was not active for long stretches of rounds.

By the eight round, Gutierrez’s head was beat red. He was bleeding from the left ear from Garcia’s consistent right jabs.

Gutierrez had a big 10th, banging Garcia with a right on the chin while he was caught against the ropes. But Garcia battled back, though it was probably the first round Gutierrez won.

With less than a minute left in the 11th, Gutierrez nailed Garcia with a straight right followed by a left hook, which had Garcia in some trouble.

“I never felt like I was hurt badly during the fight, but it was a fair decision,” Gutierrez said. “I started too late in the fight. In the middle of the eighth round, I started to connect on my punches. He moved around my left hand. He’s not an easy fighter, for sure.

“It's a bad moment for me right now, but it’s just one loss. I’m still young, only 25 years old. I'll wait a little bit to know what I’ll do next, but I’ll rise again. For now, I want to rest and be with my family.”

Brandun Lee gets up from an early knockdown to beat Will Madera

Young rising super lightweight star Brandun Lee was knocked down for the first time in his career, caught by a looping right from Will Madera to the jaw with :25 left in the third round of a scheduled 10-rounder.

Lee (26-0, 22 KOs) managed to get up, though on unsteady legs, and began to reestablish himself on his way to winning a 10-round unanimous decision. Bleeding from his right eye, Madera (17-2-3, 10 KOs) unfurled a textbook right to the jaw that sent Lee down.

“I think I went in there a little too careless,” Lee said. “After the first round, I told myself this guy has nothing to give me. Boy was I wrong. It took me a round for me to recover. I of course had to change up the game plan a little bit. In the gym, we practice for anything, just in case. That’s what I did.”    

A composed Lee, overcoming adversity for the first time in his career, used combination punching to regain command. It’s the second straight time Lee has gone 10 rounds.

“To me, going the rounds are kind of good for me,” Lee said. “We all know I’m a knockout artist and I’m finally getting the rounds, the conditioning and the good work that I need to be a good professional. It’s part of the game I got hit with a clean shot; not once did I fold. Not once did I attempt to quit. I’m a fighter. I’m going to fight to the death. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, death before dishonor.”

Madera thought the fight was closer.

“I thought the fight was a lot closer than the scorecards, but I know he did enough to win the fight,” he said. “In the third, I timed a perfect overhand right. He didn’t see it coming. He was too busy being aggressive, trying to take me out and he wasn’t defensive minded in that moment.

“I sensed he was still hurt at the start of the fourth round. I just didn’t do enough to push the fight.”

For a closer look at Figueroa vs Lipinets, check out our fight night page. 

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It's do or die for two former world champions as Omar Figueroa and Sergey Lipinets battle in a WBC Super Lightweight Title eliminator Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

This Saturday, August 20, from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL, all-action Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. (28-2-1, 19 KOs) battles late replacement Sergey Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) in a 12-round WBC Super Lightweight Title eliminator atop a Premier Boxing Champions event.

Figueroa’s original opponent, Adrien Broner, pulled out of Saturday’s contest citing personal issues. 

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) will feature top 140-pound contenders Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov battling for the vacant WBA super lightweight world championship in the co-main event. Also on the card, WBA super featherweight world champion Roger Gutierrez defends his title against undefeated Chris Colbert conqueror, Hector Garcia. Opening up the four-fight telecast, electrifying blue-chip prospect Brandun Lee takes on Will Madera in a 10-round super lightweight bout.

The Story

Omar Figueroa Jr. started boxing at six years of age under the supervision of his father Omar Sr., fighting in the amateur ranks in both the United States and Mexico. Despite having earned an athletic scholarship to Texas A&M, the call of the ring pulled a young “Panterita” back to boxing, where he made his professional debut at 18.

In 2013, at the age of 23, the Weslaco, Texas native won the WBC lightweight title in a Fight of the Year-caliber battle with Japan’s Nihito Arakawa. Two defenses later, injury forced Figueroa to vacate his title and begin a run in the super lightweight division. The injury was just one of many assorted career-pausing injuries that reportedly includes six or seven fractured hands and elbow surgery. Most recently, mental health issues have hurt the former champ’s ring efforts, leading to inactivity and outside-the-ring distraction.

Despite back-to-back losses in his last two bouts against Yordenis Ugas and Abel Ramos, Figueroa says that he’s working through his difficulties and ready to get back to the form he displayed against the likes of Arakawa and Robert Guerrero.

Hailing from Woodland Hills, California by way of Martuk, Kazakhstan, Sergey Lipinets is a former kickboxer who immediately took to boxing, winning a world title in just his 13th pro fight. 

Two of his career blemishes – a majority draw with Custio Clayton in 2020 and a six-round KO loss to Jaron Ennis in 2021 – came at the welterweight limit. At his ideal weight of 140, however, Lipinets has performed at a high level, even accounting well for himself in his 2018 decision loss to pound-for-pound presence Mikey Garcia. 

The former world champ was scheduled to appear on the Broner-Figueroa undercard but is ecstatic at getting the opportunity to slide into the main event.

The Stakes

At stake for both fighters is, quite frankly, their careers. Both Figueroa and Lipinets desperately need a victory to stay afloat and turn the tide of careers that, in recent years, have been trending downward. Further, the winner moves closer to a world title shot in this WBC eliminator. 

The Matchup

The 32-year-old Figueroa is a pressure fighter at heart with an all-action focus and an awkward style that can throw opposition off-kilter. Tenacious and tricky, he has an underrated bag of stylistic tricks in his arsenal picked up over a lifetime in the gym, including the ability to effortlessly shift from orthodox to southpaw stances.

An off-putting style and a granite chin make up a major part of Figueroa’s defense, but they clearly have not been enough to get him over the hump against higher-level opposition at higher weights. A move back down to 140 will definitely be a good thing for him.

I hope he's ready for what I'm bringing. Former World Champion - Omar Figueroa Jr.

Lipinets is a calm, patient fighter with an all-around solid skill set and a stiff jab. Despite setbacks in recent bouts, he’s actually grown as a fighter and credits his work with trainer Joe Goossen as the key to improvements in both his inside and outside game, as well as the addition of more “sit-down” power.

On defense, the 33-year-old Lipinets keeps his hands up and picks off shots with his gloves. Increased in-ring fluidity has come hand-in-hand with more bending at the waist and rolling with punches. Despite his KO loss to the explosive Jaron Ennis, his chin has also proven to be sturdy and reliable. 

The Words

Omar Figueroa Jr.

“This is going to be a great fight against Lipinets and I hope he's ready for what I'm bringing. I've made changes in my life and…I’m going to show what I can do now that I have a clear head and a clear path ahead of me. With the opponent change I'm even more ready to take all the frustrations and anger that have built up in camp and bring it into the ring on Saturday and come out victorious.”

Sergey Lipinets

“We’ve actually been in camp for almost three months getting ready for whoever they put in front of me. We’ve been sparring with and preparing for all types of styles. And now we get this great news that I get to fight Figueroa this Saturday. I can’t wait to show everyone that I’m still a force to be reckoned with at 140 pounds.”

The Breakdown

Losing out on a chance to fight the high-profile Adrien Broner has to be a major letdown for Figueroa. Although Lipinets is solid and respected, he doesn’t demand the spotlight that Broner does and a win over the California-based Kazakh will not provide the same boost as a win over “The Problem.”

In a lot of ways, though, Lipinets will be just as complicated of an opponent as Broner. While lacking Broner’s natural speed and athleticism, Lipinets’ cool temperament and tight skill set could match up well against a Figueroa who can sometimes be a bit sloppy in his rush to attack.

Figueroa will have to be sharp or he’ll get caught up the middle, repeatedly, and worn down by a Lipinets who does good body work and has underrated pop in his right hand. 

But if Lipinets is being pushed back and forced to fight in reverse, it’ll be a sign that the pressure fighter Figueroa is having his way and on track to a big comeback win. 

Omar Figueroa Jr. vs. Sergey Lipinets, this Saturday, is a compelling clash of styles and temperaments where neither fighter can afford to lose and both absolutely must put on a show.

For a closer look at Figueroa vs Lipinets, check out our fight night page. 

Fight Night: Sat, Aug 20, 2022 - Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, FL

Lee vs Madera

Despite being knocked down early, Brandun Lee fights through adversity and defeats Will Madera by unanimous decision in their super lightweight bout.
Lee vs Madera Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Lee No data available No data available No data available No data available
Madera No data available No data available No data available No data available

In the telecast opener, the knockout artist Brandun Lee dealt with serious adversity for the first time in his career when he was dropped hard by a right hand in the third round.

Recap Image

Esther Lin / SHOWTIME

After rising and clearing the cobwebs, Lee relied on his boxing skills and savvy to capture his second straight 10-round decision against the tougher than expected Will Madera at a super lightweight bout waged at 143 pounds.

Despite the knockdown, Lee was otherwise dominant, winning by scores of 98-91 from the trio of judges Daniel Fitzgerald, Lisa Giampa and Mark Streisand to improve to 26-0 with 22 knockouts. Lee blamed overconfidence on getting caught in the third.

“I think I went in there a little too careless,” Lee said. “I told myself this guy has nothing to give me, but boy was I wrong. I lost focus and overlooked him for that split second. I was cautious in the first couple rounds, the first three until I got hit. I need to keep my left hand up and remain on my toes at all times. I’m not fighting tomato cans anymore, the dude was like No. 17 in the U.S. and has some experience. You can’t knock everyone out. I had to change the game plan. I went from moving forward to boxing. I got hit with a clean shot but I kept on going. I recovered. Like I said before, death before dishonor.”

After bloodying Madera’s eye in the second round with a dagger of a right hand and left uppercut, the first time that Madera (17-2-3, 10 KOs) had ever been cut, Lee was caught by a picture-perfect counter overhand right that landed squarely on Lee’s chin, dropping the 23-year-old hard with around 20 seconds remaining in the third round, the first time in Lee’s career he touched the canvas.

The sequence resulted from Lee throwing out a lazy jab and Madera countering over the top. Lee thudded hard to the canvas on his side, his equilibrium clearly off and he was on shaky legs as he rose and survived the remainder of the frame. Lee of La Quinta, Calif. out-landed Madera 168-127 in total punches and threw 431 jabs to survive the scare and move on in his promising career.

Afterward, Lee expressed a desire to face the winner of a match reportedly ordered for the interim super lightweight IBF title between Subriel Matias-Jeremias Ponce.

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The legendary former heavyweight champion discusses a variety of topics as he prepares to face Robert Helenius in an explosive FOX Sports Pay-Per-View Headliner from Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

It's a Bombzquad takeover as former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder invades The PBC Podcast this week. Wilder discusses a number of topics in this all-encompassing interview, including his October 15 showdown versus Robert Helenius on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. You don't want to miss what the Bronze Bomber has to say!

Also, hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal preview the weekend's action as former world champions collide when Omar Figueroa Jr. faces Sergey Lipinets Saturday night on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Plus, the "Top Five Heavyweight Fights of the 21st Century" in this week's Toe to Toe segment and more!

For a closer look at Deontay Wilder, check out his fighter page. 

The PBC Podcast is a weekly boxing show featuring timely analysis and interviews with the sport’s biggest figures. The show is published every Wednesday on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spreaker and other outlets. Alternatively, listeners can find The PBC Podcast on the PBC website at www.premierboxingchampions.com/podcast.

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Figueroa is winning battles outside the ring and hopes to do so inside it when he faces fellow former champ Sergey Lipinets in a WBC 140-pound title eliminator Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

It has been said the most complex computer is the human brain. And that must be true, if the total of all the components in the three pounds or so of soft fat floating inside the skull in a sea of cerebrospinal fluid are added up. A weekly lottery ticket purchaser could score the big jackpot in numerous consecutive weeks at lower odds than even the most accomplished probers of the human brain could in attempting to accurately describe all the intricacies of thought processes involving approximately 86 billion neurons woven together by an estimated 100 trillion connections, or synapses.

Even so renowned an expert as Christof Koch, Ph.D., Chief Scientist and President of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, admits to the semi-futility of answering every question that might arise from the study of brains in life forms vastly less intricate than those of human beings. “We don’t even understand the brain of a worm,” Dr. Koch offered in a moment of candor.

But mankind nonetheless presses on in its never-ending quest for knowledge, which brings more than a few seekers of truth to the curious and compelling case of former WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa Jr., whose brain has been a veritable petri dish of case studies since he was a teenager. 

At various times, the 32-year-old Figueroa (28-2-1, 19 KOs), who takes Sergey Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs), a late replacement for former four-division world champ Adrien “The Problem” Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs) Saturday night in the 12-round, WBC Super Lightweight Title Eliminator live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, has been diagnosed with all manner of jumbled neurons and synapses. 

An opponent in the other corner intent on knocking him out is hardly the most pressing concern for Figueroa, who for years has had to fight his way back in an ongoing battle with ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder), Bipolar disorder, clinical depression, anxiety, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and a form of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) known as “complex PTSD.” He also has had to deal with a series of injuries, most notably to the primary instruments of his trade, his hands.

“Injuries have hindered my career, too,” said Figueroa, whose last victory, a 10-round unanimous decision over John Molina Jr., was on February 16, 2019. “I’ve broken my hands several times each. You can’t do anything without your hands in boxing.”

Nor, it would seem, can you approximate the best version of yourself in the ring if your mind is not in near-perfect harmony with your body, which it was not for Figueroa in his most recent bout, a sixth-round stoppage loss to Abel Ramos on May 1, 2021. That defeat resulted in Figueroa receiving an urgent message from his mind that the physical and psychological sides of himself needed to resolve any and all conflicts, or else his career as a past world titlist with a vision of becoming one again would end sooner than he or his supporters would prefer.

“I don’t know,” Figueroa said of his surprisingly less-than-stellar performance against Ramos. “I wish I knew what the heck happened in that fight. My legs just weren’t there. That’s the most frustrating thing that can happen because we went through a whole camp and whenever I’m in camp I’m 100% and I dedicate myself.

I’m appreciative of and grateful for the opportunity that I have to do this (boxing) again. Former World Champion - Omar Figueroa Jr.

“I did everything I had to do to be perfect for that fight. In the first round I knew I hurt him and I know I could have finished him, but when I tried to put in that little extra effort to finish him, my legs just weren’t there. I don’t know what happened to my body at that point, but that’s also what started me on this introspective journey. I started looking into mental health and I realized how important that was.”

The inspiration – well, one of them, at least – for Figueroa to identify some of the inner torments within himself and to restrain them as best he could was pixieish gymnast Simone Biles, whom everyone expected to shine as brightly at the 2021 Beijing Olympics, as she had at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. But Biles withdrew from several events, citing mental fatigue and her desire to find the sort of peace that she had not felt for some time.

“The fact that she pulled out of (a portion of) the Olympics lit a fire under my ass and it got me thinking that she had to do that when she was one of the focal points of her sport, to take care of herself, got me to thinking, `What am I doing with myself?  To myself? What aren’t I paying attention to my brain, which is the most vital part of me that I have? I knew I had to look inward.’”

The pre-therapy side of himself, Figueroa said, “was fueled by hatred and anger … all the negative stuff. I’m appreciative of and grateful for the opportunity that I have to do this (boxing) again. I know now that it was never me against the world. It was me against me.”

Can the less-stressed, more-in-control  Figueroa prove as successful, and perhaps more so in a strictly boxing sense, than his previous incarnation as a raging storm making frequent landfalls inside the ropes? He believes it is possible, but one thing he has learned about himself is that it is imprudent to issue guarantees that only can be verified, or not, on fight night.

“The therapy and counseling has allowed me to open up and be human,” the Texas-born Figueroa said of his reconfigured priorities that can and should also prove useful to him as a fighter. “I didn’t feel human before. I went through so much growing up, especially in the Mexican culture as a man with all the machismo.

“We all deal with these sort of things to one degree or another, but me maybe more so because of the position that I’m in, as a known boxer and all that. Knowing that I could use the platform that I’m on to help people like me have the courage to face what I did … Look, I can be open about it now and shine some light in other people’s lives if they’re going through a dark place.”

Mental health – for everyone, not just boxers or athletes – has become an increasingly major concern. That Broner, who has his own history of sometimes inexplicable behavior, cites that factor as the reason for his withdrawal only serves to identify the “dark place” Figueroa has been striving to escape for a large segment of his life.

If Figueroa truly has found a way to stop fighting himself, adjusting to a new opponent, the 33-year-old Lipinets, should be a relative snap.  

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

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THU, JAN 01, 1970

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