Indio, CA (June 26, 2017) – South Texas’s Omar “El Panterita” Figueroa, a former lightweight world champion, heads into training camp on a balmy 118-degree day in Indio, CA, home to his trainer Joel Diaz and his new boxing home-base since January. Figueroa re-enters the boxing ring on Saturday, July 15 when he takes on former multiple-division world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in the 147-pound main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT in the first boxing event at the newly-renovated NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The break that Figueroa took saw him embracing his Weslaco, Texas home, which sits right on the border to Mexico. It was a reset that had been coming for a fighter who fought in both Mexico and the U.S. as an amateur before turning pro after his first semester in college.
“Boxing is a very jealous sport. You do it 100% or you don’t do it at all,” said Figueroa explaining his 18-month break from the ring. “After my last fight I felt that I needed a break – time to be a father, a son, a brother and a friend. I needed the time to heal my body, mind and soul. I fought with broken hands, I fought world-class athletes; having fought since I was 6, I wanted to take a break and just be human. So I took a year off to heal from the injuries, be with my family and friends, be a father and just be me.”
It’s a break that Diaz, who Figueroa first trained with three years ago, agrees with. The two made a plan during his break to have the young fighter come from his Weslaco, TX home to California for an extended training period in preparation for his next fight, as well as set up his camp.
“It’s necessary to take time off,” said Diaz. “Sometimes fighters work too hard in training or in the action that they bring to the fights. Omar is the type of fighter that brings a lot of action to his fights and it takes a toll on his body. He’s an all-out fighter so he needs that time off to recuperate and restart himself. This break in his body and mind helped him recover from that strain so that he could come back and start fresh again. “
Figueroa faces a tough opponent in Robert Guerrero when he steps back in the ring. Not only is Figueroa fighting above his normal weight-class, but he’s also fighting a former world champion across multiple weight-classes known to be a tough and cunning opponent.
“Guerrero is one of the toughest challenges for any boxer. He is a tough fighter, he doesn’t back down and he doesn’t quit,” said Figueroa. “You have to go into the fight knowing it’ll go the full 12 rounds and there won’t be any easy moment in the fight. But I’m prepared for that, it’s what I’ve been training for and it’s who I am.
“I’m excited and grateful to be part of bringing boxing back to the Nassau Veterans Coliseum and I plan to set a high standard. When you have fights in this arena, you know they are going be memorable,” added Figueroa.