On Saturday night, two unbeaten super bantamweights will meet in a championship tilt at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
WBC 122-pound title holder and two-division champion Luis “Pantera” Nery (31-0, 24 KO) will defend his belt against Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa (21-0-1, 16 KO) in a headliner on a Premier Boxing Champions on Showtime card. On paper, the bout can be considered a unification since Figueroa owns a WBA “regular” belt.
Nery, 26, burst onto the world scene in 2017, when he traveled to Japan to challenge Shinsuke Yamanaka for the WBC and The Ring bantamweight titles. He stopped Yamanaka in the fourth round to win the title and stake his claim as the best bantamweight in the world, but his title was stripped and given back to Yamanaka after he tested positive for Zilpaterol, a performance enhancing compound.
“Pantera” redeemed himself by rematching Yamanaka and winning back the WBC title, stopping him in the second round the following year. From there, Nery began his crusade in the American boxing world, earning wins over McJoe Arroyo, Juan Carlos Payano and, most recently, Aaron Alameda to win the WBC super bantamweight title he holds currently.
Figueroa, 24, has been a knockout machine for most of his career so far, as he has stopped 8 of his last 9 opponents before the final bell. The lone blemish on his record is a draw with Juilo Ceja in 2019, but Figueroa has since bounced back, earning a 10th round TKO of Damien Vazquez in September 2020.
Both fighters will be competing in the most high-profile bout of their careers thus far, and a win for either fighter could take them to the next level of popularity in the boxing world. Interesting potential foes await the winner as well, with emergence Stephen Fulton and Murodjon Akhmadaliev onto the world championship scene.
Fighter’s Form (last 5 fights):
Aaron Alameda - WIN by UD (118-110, 116-112, 115-113) - 26/09/2020
Juan Carlos Payano - WIN by TKO 9 - 20/07/2019
McJoe Arroyo - WIN by TKO 4 - 16/03/2019
Renson Robles - WIN by TKO 7 - 01/12/2018
Jason Canoy - WIN by TKO 3- 06/10/2018
Damien Vazquez - WIN by TKO 10 - 26/09/2020
Julio Ceja - DRAW (116-112 for Ceja, 115-113 for Figueroa, 114-114) - 23/11/2019
Javier Nicolas Chacon- WIN by KO 4 - 24/08/2019
Yonfrez Parejo - WIN by TKO after 8 - 20/04/2019
Moises Flores - WIN by KO 3 - 13/01/2019
Date: May 15th, 2021
Time: 3 am (UTC), 7pm (PT), 10pm (ET)
Venue: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California
Elsewhere on the card
In the co-main event, former titleholder Danny Roman (28-3-1, 10 KO) will face Ricardo Espinoza (25-3, 21 KO) in a super bantamweight contest. The card will also feature super featherweight prospect Xavier Martinez (16-0, 11 KO) against Juan Carlos Burgos (34-4-2, 21 KO).