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
Four-division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner, one of the sport’s most notable attractions and biggest personalities, will make his long-awaited return against all-action former world champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa in a 12-round super lightweight showdown headlining action live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, August 20 from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and 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. Plus, WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez defends his title against unbeaten Hector Garcia in the telecast opener.
The two former champions present an intriguing contrast of styles as the flashy, technical skills of Broner match up against the bruising, volume attack of Figueroa. Both fighters have reached incredible highs and delivered memorable moments throughout their careers and will look to go through one another to return to championship contention.
Cincinnati’s Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs), is one of the most popular and colorful personalities in the sport and quickly rose to prominence by combining supreme boxing with a brash outspoken personality. By the age of 26, he had captured world titles at 130, 135, 140 and 147 pounds, becoming one of only eight active fighters to win a world championship in four divisions. Broner has faced several multi-division world champions such as Manny Pacquiao, Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana, Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas. He most recently won a unanimous decision over Jovanie Santiago in February 2021 and now returns to the super lightweight division where he dominated Khabib Allakhverdiev to win a 140-pound title in 2015.
“I’m going in there to try to stop Figueroa,” said Broner. “I’m going to take the fight to him and go ahead and get him out of there. What I expect from him is the same gruesome Figueroa that we always see. He’ll try to make it a rough fight. Every fighter is different, but I don’t think he’ll be hard to hit. So, I’ll see ya’ll on August 20.’’
The 32-year-old Figueroa (28-2-1, 19 KOs) is from a fighting family along with his younger brother Brandon, a former super bantamweight world champion. Figueroa won the WBC Lightweight World Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Nihito Arakawa in a 2013 “Fight of the Year” and successfully defended the title two times before moving up to super lightweight in 2015. Figueroa has also fought at welterweight, earning action-packed victories over Robert Guerrero, John Molina Jr., and Antonio DeMarco. He’ll move back down to super lightweight on August 20 after back-to-back defeats against Yordenis Ugas and Abel Ramos.
“I’m excited to move on to the next phase of my life and career, especially now that my mental health is at the forefront of everything I do,” said Figueroa. “Having a clear mind has been the best thing to happen to me. Now I’m able to focus 100% on my boxing career and I can’t wait to be back in the ring on August 20.”
A native of San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, Puello (20-0, 10 KOs) now fights out of Las Vegas under the guidance of renowned coach Ismael Salas. The 27-year-old leapt up the rankings in July 2019, handing Jonathan Alonso his first career defeat with a unanimous decision victory that earned him an interim title. Puello was successful in his U.S. debut in December 2021, as he scored a unanimous decision victory over Veshawn Owens in Owen’s hometown.
“I’m very committed to winning this fight for my team and my country,” said Puello. “I am more than prepared to make the most of this opportunity. My only focus is on earning this victory, becoming world champion and taking on all the challenges that come my way after that.”
Born in Uzbekistan and now fighting out of Los Angeles, Akhmedov (9-1, 8 KOs) represented Turkey at the 2016 Olympic games. The 31-year-old turned pro in 2017 and won his first seven pro fights, with six coming by knockout. His lone blemish came in an action-packed title fight against Mario Barrios in September 2019, where he was able to survive two knockdowns to make it a close fight, before eventually losing by decision. Akhmedov has rebounded to win back-to-back fights, including a stoppage of the typically durable former world champion Argenis Mendez in June 2021.
“I’m excited that I’m finally getting my shot at the world title again,” said Akhmedov. “I have worked very hard to reach my goal of becoming world champion. This time, I’m going to do everything possible to make sure that I take full advantage of this opportunity.”
The 27-year-old Gutierrez (26-3-1, 20 KOs) captured his world title with a unanimous decision victory over Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado in January 2021, in a fight that saw him drop his opponent three times. Gutierrez followed up that performance by defending his world championship and defeating Alvarado a second time in August 2021, again earning a unanimous decision. Fighting out of his native Maracaibo, Venezuela, Gutierrez is unbeaten in his last seven outings, including four knockouts.
“I am excited to return to the ring and defend my title for the second time,” said Gutierrez. “This is going to be a difficult fight, but I am confident in my abilities and my preparation, and I know I will be victorious. I am ready to show the world again that I am the best in this division.”
Tall and rangy with good power in his left hand and a dedicated body attack, the 30-year-old Garcia (15-0, 10 KOs) scored one of the biggest upsets of the year in February, when he stepped in as a late replacement for Gutierrez to defeat then-unbeaten Chris Colbert on SHOWTIME in Las Vegas. The 5-9 Garcia represented his native San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, in the 2016 Olympics before turning pro in December that year. Along with his countryman Puello, Garcia is also trained by the highly respected Ismael Salas in Las Vegas.
“This is a very important fight for me because I have worked for so long to win a world title,” said Garcia. “This fight is for all of the people in the Dominican Republic. I can’t wait to display my skills for them once again on SHOWTIME. It’s also a very special night because me and my friend Alberto Puello will both be fighting for world titles, the first time two Dominicans will do so on the same night. We grew up together and had the same amateur coaches and now we have a chance to make history together.
Adrien Broner (33-3, 24 KOs) will make his return to the ring against undefeated former world champion Omar Figueroa (27-0-1, 19 KOs) on April 21 in a WBC Super Lightweight Final Eliminator at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The last time we saw Broner in the ring, he was dominated by Mikey Garcia, and three fights before the Garcia fight, Broner was dominated by Shawn Porter.
Now, Broner, 28, wants another shot at Garcia and Porter, but that does not happen without beating Figueroa.
“I’m trying to outshine everybody. I have to go crazy,” Broner said in New York City on Wednesday. “I have to rematch Mikey. I have to fight Shawn Porter. This fight is the start of the turn-up. I’m ready. Let’s get it on. He’s(Figueroa) undefeated, I’m trying to give him his first loss.”
If Broner does not get serious about his career, his time in boxing is going to run out. Figueroa is a tough opponent, and as we saw against Robert Guerrero, he has power.
At this stage of his career, Broner can’t look past any fighter, especially Figueroa.
Photo: Amanda Wescott/Showtime
LONG ISLAND, NY (May 23, 2017) – A matchup between exciting former world champions Omar “El Panterita” Figueroa (26-0-1, 18 KOs)and Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-5-1, 18 KOs)headlines an action-packed night of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes on Saturday, July 15 in the first boxing event at the newly-renovated NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT from the first boxing event at the Coliseum since Mike Tyson headlined in 1986.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and showing fans what I’m known for – exciting fights,” said Figueroa. “I’ve been quietly training and preparing in Indo, California with Joel Diaz and now it’s time. I’m looking forward to a great fight with Robert Guerrero on July 15 in front of a New York crowd. I can’t wait to show everyone at the Coliseum and on FOX and FOX Deportes what ‘Panterita’ is all about.”
“Both me and Omar Figueroa like to bang on the inside, which should make for great entertainment, but Omar is going to find out on July 15that he’s facing a man who has his back against the wall and is going to leave everything in the ring,” said Guerrero. “I’m going to give the millions who’ll be watching on FOX and FOX Deportes a fight to remember. This is going to be a classic Mexican war and I’m coming out on top.”
The FOX and FOX Deportes broadcast will see unbeaten contender”Sir” Marcus Browne (19-0, 14 KOs) battling undefeated Long Island native and fan favorite Seanie Monaghan (28-0, 17 KOs) in a light heavyweight showdown.
“I have fought more times at Barclays Center than anyone, so it’s exciting to get to fight in a new venue not too far from home,” said Browne. “We might be in Seanie’s immediate backyard, but I’m just down the block, so he really isn’t any more at home than I am. I know he’s a hard-nosed fighter with a come-forward style. I’m preparing for a tough opponent. A win won’t come easy, but we have to take care of business. I am just ready to display my talent on national television and continue my climb toward a world title.”
“It is a dream come true to be fighting at the Coliseum, which is literally right next to the track where I run every day,” said Monaghan. “It is an honor to represent Long Island in the first boxing event held at this venue in 31 years. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time, and I feel that this bout will bring a new chapter in my career. I have a lot of respect for Marcus Browne, but let the best man win. OnJuly 15, I am putting everything on the line.”
Also televised in prime time, Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs)meets Adam Kownacki (15-0, 12 KOs) in an all-Polish heavyweight showdown that promises fireworks.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring and give my fans another exciting fight,” said Szpilka. “With two Polish heavyweights fighting, you know there will be power and pride on display. I’m training harder than ever to get this victory in front of the great Polish fans in New York. This will be my first step towards getting back to fighting for the heavyweight world title.”
“I can’t wait to fight again,” said Kownacki. “Most of my past fights were at Barclays Center, so fighting at the Coliseum will be a new and exciting experience. I am training very hard. A win on July 15 puts me one step closer to becoming a world champion. Szpilka will not stand in my way.”
“Boxing’s grand return to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is going to be wall-to-wall action,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “The PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes main event between Omar Figueroa and Robert Guerrero is destined to be a bloody slugfest. The co-featured bout between Staten Island’s light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne and Long Island’s undefeated ‘Irish Rocky’ Seanie Monaghan will bring the heat on a summer night in Long Island. While Marcus and Seanie will bring in a big local crowd, the heavyweight grudge match between Poland’s Artur ‘The Pin’ Szpilka and Polish American Long Islander, by way of Brooklyn, Adam ‘Baby Face’ Kownacki will pack the house with Polish fans. As a Long Islander, I am proud to promote the first fight card at Nassau Coliseum in 31 years. July 15 will be a fun, action-packed night of boxing entertainment from beginning to end; the remainder of the card will be stacked with old-school brawls including local talent.”