Brandon Figueroa scores KO win over Luis Nery; wins WBC Super Bantamweight title
At the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, we have a world unification bout at 122 pounds. WBC World Super Bantamweight champion, Luis Nery steps into the ring to face WBA World ‘Regular’ Super Bantamweight champion, Brandon Figueroa. For Nery, this more than just an opportunity to acquire another world belt. This is also about salvaging his reputation as he has become one of boxing’s true lightning rods.
The hardcore boxing sect tabbed Nery as a can’t-miss prospect as he melted through his early opposition like a hot knife through butter. Due to his vaunted power and his ice-cold demeanor in the ring, the power-punching southpaw nicknamed ‘Pantera’ had the look of a future world champion.
On August 15, 2017, Nery ventured to Kyoto, Japan to challenge then-WBC World Bantamweight champ Shinsuke Yamanaka. The Mexican defeated Yamanaka by 4th round TKO to win the belt at 118 pounds. However, after the win, it was discovered Nery failed a pre-fight drug test as he tested positive for the performance enhancing drug Zilpaterol. A rematch was ordered between Nery and Yamanaka by the WBC. The fight took place on March 1, 2018, once again in Japan. However, in a despicable display of professionalism, Nery failed to make weight, coming in three pounds over the 118-pound bantamweight limit. The fight was allowed to continue, and Nery destroyed Yamanaka in two rounds. Although, because of the drama during the weigh-in, the Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC) was so outraged that they banned Nery from fighting in the country for life!
From there, Pantera has drawn the scorn of the public. The wins have continued, but his performances since the fights against Yamanaka have been inconsistent. It looked like he received a boost in his career when he defeated Aaron Almeda to win the vacant WBC World Super Bantamweight title in September of 2020. Still, his performance against Almeda was disappointing. Then, he surprisingly decided to part ways with well-respected trainer Eddy Reynoso.
Nery must put it all together to defeat Figueroa. The WBA champ brings a fan-friendly style and is all-action in the ring. He is also a fighter who has made a history of battling through adversity. The 24-year-old from Weslaco, Texas was an underdog when he stepped into the ring against Moises Flores in January of 2019. Figueroa KO’d Flores in three rounds. He battled injuries before his fight against then WBA World ‘Regular’ 122-pound champion Julio Ceja in November of 2019. There was also the issue of Ceja failing to make weight. Yet, he plugged through on the way to a disputed draw. At the time, Figueroa was the WBA ‘Interim’ champion. Following the fight against Ceja, the WBA promoted him to World ‘Regular’ champ. In his last bout, he defended that title with a tenth-round TKO over Damian Vazquez in September of 2020.
Nery v Figueroa has the look of total warfare. Both men like to move forward and bring two-fisted power to the party. Nery wants to regain his status as one of the best fighters in the lower-weight divisions. Figueroa is hungry to establish himself as the best super bantamweight in the world. On paper, this fight has the potential to turn into a Fight of The Year Candidate.
Two big punchers oftentimes result in a short night. The way both Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa fight and punch, their fights typically do not see the final bell. The opening round was a battle in close. Sporting a three-inch height advantage, Figueroa would elect to not utilize his favorable advantage.
Nery, one of boxing’s best fighters and harder punchers, seemed to welcome this strategy. He would sit down on his shots and throw right hooks and overhand lefts. Figueroa would not be deterred, as he would land his own shots to the head and body of the WBC Super Bantamweight champion. He would often smother his own offense and make himself an easier target by giving up his height advantage.
Round four would provide excellent two-way action as both men would snap each other’s head back. However, Nery would continue to control the action.
PRESSURE BURSTS PIPES!
Pressure makes diamonds. Pressure also breaks down fighters and that is exactly what Brandon Figueroa did to Luis Nery. After six sloppy but entertaining back-and-forth rounds, Figueroa would snatch the “0” and WBC Super Bantamweight title away from Nery. He Turned up the heat in round seven, throwing vicious head shots and precise body shots. A left uppercut to the body of Nery would send the former unbeaten champion down after a delayed reaction. Tired and hurt, Nery would not be able to rise to his feet and beat the count.
Figueroa, who showed determination and composure in a dangerous fight, will now move on to a unification bout with WBO Super Bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton on September 11.
By: Jerrell Fletcher