By Lem Satterfield
Brandon Figueroa and former champion Moises Flores share a common opponent in ex-title holder Oscar Escandon of Colombia entering their January 13 junior featherweight battle at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on FOX (8 p.m. PT/ 5 p.m. PT).
Figueroa (17-0, 12 KOs) overcame a cut over his left eye from a third-round head butt with a right uppercut, dropping and stopping Escandon in the 10th-round of a toe-to-toe battle at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
The September stoppage was the fourth straight and third in 2018 for “The Heartbreaker,” whose father, Omar Figueroa Sr., worked his corner, and older brother and former 135-pound champion, Omar Jr., served as a ringside TV commentator.
The 32-year-old Flores (25-1, 17 KOs), of Mexico, stands 5-foot-9 compared to 5-foot-1 ½ for Escandon, the man “Chucky” dethroned as interim champion by split-decision in April 2015. Flores made a pair of defenses before losing his last fight in June to WBA titleholder Daniel Roman by unanimous decision.
A power-punching, switch-hitter from Weslaco, Texas, the 5-foot-7 Figueroa’s the shorter man against Flores, whose reach is 69-inches compared to 72 for Figueroa.
Figueroa, who turned 22 on December 29, is fighting on the undercard of a 168-pound main event featuring IBF champion Jose Uzecategui (28-2, 23 KOs) in defense of his crown against Caleb Plant (17-0, 10 KOs).
“Flores is from Mexco, he’s got 25-1 record with 17 knockouts, and his only loss was to a champion he went the distance with,” said Omar Figueroa Sr.,
“Brandon’s body-punching can hurt him in the same way he wore down Escandon. Brandon finally got Escandon with the correct punch in the last round, but it was important that he worked the body, which led to the knockout.”
The customarily orthodox Figueroa’s finishing blow was delivered upon Escandon out of a southpaw stance, even 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.
“Escandon was my first time going 10 rounds, but now I’m confident that those body shots can wear you down and I can sustain my power throughout the fight. My second wins comes in and I get stronger, and that’s when I can dominate the fight in the later rounds,” said Figueroa.
“Flores has got the experience of having gone 12 rounds four times, so his conditioning is up there. He has an awkward style, throws a lot of punches, and definitely likes to throw that right hand a lot, which would be perfect for me to dodge it and come back with a left hook to the body.”
Flores and Figueroa are ranked fourth and fifth by the WBA, whose champion is Roman. Figueroa’s ninth according to the IBF, whose titleholder is unbeaten southpaw Terence TJ Doheny.
“If Brandon wins this fight convincingly, I think he’ll be right in there ready for a shot at the world title, if not, after one more fight,” said Omar Sr.
“This guy is very experienced and he knows how to box, but I think Brandon is quicker, goes harder to the body than Roman, and I really believe that Brandon can wear Flores down and stop him to the body.”