Brandon Figueroa punches ticket to 122-pound contender status

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Unbeaten Figueroa talks about where he thinks his KO victory over former titleholder Oscar Escandon Sunday night in the main event of PBC on FS1 places him in the 122-pound ranks.

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Figueroa vs Escandon - Watch Video Highlights | September 30, 2018

A head-swiveling right uppercut transformed 21-year-old power-punching, switch-hitter Brandon Figueroa from prospect to contender. Figueroa scored a knockout victory over former world champion Oscar Escandon in Sunday night’s grueling 122-pound PBC on FS1 main event at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.

Figueroa (17-0, 12 KOs) overcame a cut over his left eye from a third-round head butt to secure his most definitive victory. He dropped and stopped Escandon (25-5, 17 KOs) in the 10th-round of a toe-to-toe battle with his father, Omar Figueroa Sr., working his corner and with older brother and former 135-pound champion, Omar Jr., working ringside as a TV commentator.

Figueroa scored his third stoppage of 2018. Now he has put himself in line to challenge champions at 122 pounds.

“I think I gave the fans what they wanted to see. I proved I have the grit and the conditioning to go hard, throwing punches the entire 10 rounds,” said Figueroa, a native of Weslaco, Texas.

“But I’ve still got things to work on, so I’m not in a rush to fight for a world title. I’ll continue improving and working on my craft, but if a title shot’s something my management team believes I’m ready for then I’ll be ready.”

The customarily orthodox Figueroa’s finishing blow was delivered out of a southpaw stance as he went furthest in a fight since consecutive eight-round unanimous decision wins over Luis Fernando Saavedra and Fatiou Fassinou in May and July 2017.

“This was the first time I’ve stopped a guy with a right uppercut. I felt his power, but I was confident, never hurt, and the cut and blood never bothered me,” said Figueroa.

“I just kept digging to the head and body, working the angles, demonstrating versatility as a southpaw, mixing up my combinations and fighting inside and outside.”

A 2004 Olympian from Colombia, Escandon, 34, suffered his third-straight setback following a seventh-round stoppage of Robinson Castellanos for an interim 126-pound title in March 2016. Escandon was knocked out in previous matches by Tugstsogt Nayambayar and WBC 126-pound champion Gary Russell Jr.

“The was a great achievement and experience in a crowd-pleasing fight for Brandon against a former world champion who made him work,” said Omar Sr. “Brandon showed he could overcome adversity, ultimately carrying his power late into the fight and getting the knockout in the last round. On a scale of 1-to-10, I would give Brandon’s an 8 or a 9 for his performance because he’s still learning.”

One man eying Figueroa was Stephen Fulton (14-0, 6 KOs), who scored an eight-round unanimous decision over German Meraz (61-41-2, 38 KOs) on the undercard on Sunday. It was Fulton’s second-straight victory since he began working as the primary sparring partner for Carl Frampton, an Irish, two-division champion.

“I’ve wanted to fight Fulton since the beginning of the year. A fight with him would be really good for me,” said Figueroa. “We’re both undefeated and he’s a boxer who likes to move around, so if he wants to fight me, let’s make it happen.”

Fulton, who sparred 50 rounds with Frampton to help him prepare for Nonito Donaire in April, would like to fight Figueroa.

 “That’s [Figueroa] a fight that’s gotta be made, next. What’s attractive about the fight is Figueroa tries to fight, and I’m a boxer, so I guess they think I’m gonna run. But as you saw tonight, I made my opponent run, so it’s not going down like that,” said Fulton, 24.

“His opponent landed some good shots on him until he caught his man with a nice shot and stopped him. If Figueroa chooses to fight southpaw, I’ll adjust, because I’ve knocked out every southpaw I’ve fought. I don’t think he’s ready for me, yet, so hopefully I’ll win by KO.”

For a complete recap of Figueroa vs Escandon, check out our fight page.

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