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What's Next for Brandon Figueroa?

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

On Saturday night, former super bantamweight titleholder Brandon Figueroa outpointed former featherweight titleholder Mark Magsayo across 12 rounds to win the WBC interim strap at 126 pounds. The three official scorecards read 118-108 and 117-109 (twice), all in favor of Figueroa.

Despite the wider scorecards, the fight may have been seen a bit closer for other spectators. The punch stat numbers were almost even, with Figueroa landing 176 of 653 (27%) and 161 of 528 (31%) power shots. Meanwhile, Magsayo connected on 179 of 593 (30%) and 160 of 464 (35%) power shots. In other words, the jab wasn’t much of a weapon for either fighter on the night.

Although Magsayo had a slight edge in terms of the numbers, those figures didn’t quite reflect the scores of the fight. While Figueroa was there to be hit from Magsayo, he was able to withstand the punishment and wear Magsayo down towards the conclusion of the bout. But what happens when “The Heartbreaker” runs into someone who has a little more pop on their shots than Magsayo?

Like his brother, former lightweight titleholder Omar Figueroa, Brandon appears to have some defensive liabilities that may hold him back from achieving his fullest potential in boxing. However, Brandon’s aggressive style has and will continue to make exciting matchups in the featherweight division and around it.

Figueroa winning the WBC interim title this past weekend has put him at the top of the line for a full world title shot against Rey Vargas, who was unsuccessful in his bid for the WBC super featherweight title against O’Shaquie Foster last month. Given the loss, Vargas will most likely drop back down to 126 to defend the title he won against Magsayo last June.

Luckily for Figueroa, Vargas hasn’t delivered any knockouts or stoppages in his last eight fights. His last one came all the way back in 2016, a fifth round TKO of Alexander Munoz. So, while will Figueroa likely be hit a lot by Vargas if they fight, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to withstand that and possibly wear Vargas out over the course of 12 rounds.

The other two titleholders at 126 pounds are unlikely to be matched against Figueroa given boxing’s political landscape, although they could potentially be great matchups for Brandon down the line. Mauricio Laura just won the WBA by knocking out Leigh Wood last month, while Luis Alberto Lopez won the IBF belt back in December, outpointing Josh Warrington via majority decision. The WBO and Ring Magazine belts are currently vacant.

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