Former World Champion Omar Figueroa Jr. held a San Antonio media workout on Tuesday as he nears his super lightweight battle against four-division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner Saturday, August 20 live on SHOWTIME from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast will feature top 140-pounders Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov squaring off for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Championship in the co-main event and WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez defends his title against unbeaten Hector Garcia in the telecast opener.
Figueroa Jr. was joined on Tuesday by his brother, former super bantamweight world champion and current featherweight contender Brandon Figueroa and his father and trainer Omar Figueroa Sr. at the media workout.
Here is what Figueroa had to say:
OMAR FIGUEROA JR.
“We grew up kind of poor coming from the Valley. San Antonio was the biggest city that we could get to and enjoy. For us, this was like the maximum. So being able to camp here being so close to home has been a game changer. Obviously, I have my family here as well. I won’t say everything in this camp has gone perfect, because perfection is so hard to acquire, but everything has gone pretty close to perfect. We’re excited.
“I’m just worried about this fight. I’m not looking at anything else. I don’t know how I’m going to feel, physically and mentally. So much has changed in the past year. I’ve gone through so much since I was diagnosed regarding my mental health. It’s been tough. I’ve been doing this for 27 years now. So, I’m really looking forward to this fight.
“The biggest thing for me the past few years has been my mental health diagnosis. After my last fight, I knew there was something wrong. We did everything we needed to do in camp, we prepared right to make sure we were 100%. Everything went wrong in that fight. I started questioning myself and wondering why the heck everything went so badly. I spoke to my doctor and then I was diagnosed with all these mental health issues and that’s when I realized maybe the problem was me all along. I’ve been working on myself so much. I’m just grateful to SHOWTIME and my team and we’re excited to show how far we’ve come.
“Growing up in the Mexican culture, it’s a lot of ‘It’s all in your head. It doesn’t really exist.’ So, I had to look into it alone. I didn’t have the support of my family when it came to that. Even now, they still kind of struggle to see that. I feel it’s very taboo to a lot of people. Thankfully, I’m in a position where, having the platform I have, I’m able to shed some light on it and show that we’re all just human. Us boxers may look like we’re invincible, getting punched and cut and fighting through it, but we’re human at the end of the day. I finally took a break and looked inward and started taking care of myself, accepting the fact that I’m human, that I hurt, that I can get anxiety and that I can get depressed.
“This camp has shed some light on being vulnerable and how much it helps to allow myself to be human. Now, I talk to my family differently. If I’m having a tough day before I get here to the gym, I’ll talk to my mom or my sister. Or when I’m feeling low, we’ll just embrace. I tell them how much I love them, how much I appreciate them for being here for me. Honestly, being human is one of the best things I decided to do.
“Honestly, there was a time when I was a little bit jealous of Broner. He had such an amazing career and, like me, things got to us. As we all know, things haven’t gone the smoothest for us. So, I’m getting the word out about mental health, doing more to bring it to the mainstream and I’m glad my opponent is Adrien Broner because he’s a great advocate for that too. I feel he can make a huge difference if he sheds a little bit of light on it. Other than that, this is a great opportunity and I know it’s going to be a hell of a fight.
“I don’t watch his stuff online and see what he’s doing. Even if he does start trash talking, it’s all part of the show. He’s been through his share of struggles and I can say I honestly respect Adrien Broner.
“I’m not sure what kind of dance partner I’ll see. This is going to be a great fight for the fans of the sport.”
Photo: Francisco Perez/Premier Boxing Champions