Brandon Figueroa puts his WBC super bantamweight title on the line against WBO boss, Stephen Fulton in a unification clash at Park Theatre, Las Vegas, this Saturday night.
Figueroa vs Fulton will be shown on SHOWTIME in the USA, whilst a UK broadcaster has not been announced at this stage.
Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) came to wider prominence in April 2019, when he forced Yonfrez Parejo to retire after eight rounds to claim the interim WBA bauble.
After a knockout first defence, ’The Heartbreaker’ was held to a draw by Julio Ceja with the full title on the line after Figueroa was upgraded to full ‘Regular’ champion.
The 24-year-old has impressed since that November 2019 setback, firstly stopping Damian Vazquez in ten rounds in September last year, and then, in his last fight, he knocked out Luis Nery in seven rounds with a body shot in what was a tight contest to that point. The win added the WBC title to the 24-year-old’s collection.
As Figueroa is only a secondary WBA champion, the organisation do not support unification matches while holding such a belt, so he has had to drop that crown in order to take on Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs).
‘Cool Boy Steph’ had to watch a vacant WBO title shot pass him by last year due to COVID-19, but he received a rearranged title shot against Angelo Leo in January, and notched an impressive wide win on the scorecards.
The 27-year-old Pennsylvanian has done little wrong in his professional career to date, and was due to face Figueroa in September, but a positive COVID-19 test for the younger man ruled him out of the contest.
A win for either man could well pave the way for an undisputed title clash with WBA ‘Super’ and IBF king, Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who defended his titles with a unanimous decision over Jose Velasquez last Friday.
Prediction: With both men bringing strong credentials into this one, it’s a tough fight to call. I slightly lean to the more seasoned Figueroa to get the job done by what could be a razor-thin decision.
Aleem battles Baez
The talented Raeese Aleem sees ten round action on this card against Mexican, Eduardo Baez (20-1-2, 7 KOs).
Aleem (18-0, 12 KOs) won the WBA interim super bantamweight title in his last outing, dropping Vic Pasillas four times on the way to an eleventh round stoppage victory, before the governing body stripped all of their interim champions in a bid to reduce the number of belts in the sport.
Baez’s only loss came early in his career to his fellow countryman, Mauricio Lara, who would go on to stun Josh Warrington, and he is on a run of nine straight wins. His last was in July, stopping Arcadio Salazar Chanez in two rounds.
Prediction: Aleem looks a level above, and can take a points win.
Russell meets Santiago
Gary Antonio Russell is also in action, and he takes on Alexandro Santiago at bantamweight over ten.
Russell (18-0, 12 KOs) is starting to receive attention, after a technical decision win against Juan Carlos Payano in December last year.
The 28-year-old, brother of WBC featherweight champion, Gary Russell Jr then faced Emmanuel Rodriguez in in August, but the fight was curtailed after a round, with an accidental clash of heads putting Rodriguez out of action.
Santiago (24-2-5, 13 KOs) did hold Jerwin Ancajas to a draw for the IBF super flyweight title in September 2018, and has won eight on the bounce since.
The magnificently named Rock Dodler Myrthil takes on Kevin Johnson in a super lightweight attraction over ten rounds.
Myrthil (17-0, 13 KOs) has been taken eight rounds in each of his last two outings, and steps up to ten round class for the first time. Johnson (9-2, 5 KOs) is coming off taking the unbeaten record of Luis David Salazar via eighth and final round knockout.
Prediction: Myrthil can take this one on points.
At super bantamweight, Aaron Alameda (25-2, 13 KOs) is coming off back-to-back losses, including a world title defeat to Luis Nery and to Angelo Leo in June, but he can get back to winning ways with an early victory over Mexico’s Angel Antonio Contreras (11-4-2, KO6) in their eight rounder.
Kenny Davis Jr (7-2-1, 3 KOs) can score a win on the cards over six in his lightweight encounter against Nelson Hampton (7-4, 4 KOs), while debutant Albert Gonzalez can also seal a points win over four against Chamar Flowers (1-1) at super bantamweight.
Prediction: I still fancy Russell to take the fight widely on the scorecards.