Stephen Fulton and Brandon Figueroa Make Bold Predictions Ahead of Their Unification Bout
Boxing fans are in for a treat this Thanksgiving holiday. On November 27, WBO world junior featherweight champion “Cool Boy Steph” Stephen Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) steps into the ring against WBC world 122-pound champ Brandon Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) at the Park Theater in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME. They were supposed to fight on September 18 until Figuroa tested positive for COVID-19.
NOT SO FAST
The two men took part in a virtual press conference with the boxing media on November 23. During previous interviews, Fulton has predicted a ninth-round stoppage. He explained that his punching power is underrated, and the public has yet to see him at his very best. Having won his last nine fights by stoppage, Figueroa said this in response:
“He’s wrong. Everyone says that I have a terrible defense, but yet I’m still undefeated. I’m still knocking out world champions and former world champions. So, this will be no different. This is going to be the same story as always.”
What’s fascinating about this upcoming contest is the clash of styles. Stephen Fulton has displayed much more versatility in the ring. Yes, he is a well-schooled technician at range. But he also can come forward and fight on the inside. An example of his all-around ability happened during his win over Angelo Leo to capture the WBO belt in January of 2021.
Brandon Figueroa is a pressure fighter who loves to wear his opponents down with body shots. If you’re not in physical and mental shape, he will make you wilt. That was evident in May of 2021 when he overpowered and overwhelmed Luis Nery to win the WBC belt.
SOURCE OF MOTIVATION
When asked about what is the key to winning, “Cool Boy Steph” became very introspective. For him, it’s not just a matter of simple physical attributes. Instead, he reduced it down to intangibles.
“It boils down to who wants it the most… The power, the speed, the strength, all that can die down in the fight. So, what do you have left? It’s all going to boil down to who wants it the most. For me, it’s not about what I have on the line.
I don’t really care about what’s on the line. That’s how I look at every fight moving forward. It’s not the prize that always gets me. It’s more so my opponent thinking that he can beat me, or that he’s better than me. That’s what gets me going. That’s what motivates me… At the end of the day, it’s not just about being unified. This man thinks he can beat me. That’s what it’s about with me.”
There seems to be a trend of world champions risking their titles against one another. This year, Josh Taylor and Canelo Alvarez became undisputed world champions at 140 and 168 pounds. Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano fought for the undisputed title at junior middleweight. Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez also engaged in a unification bout at 115 pounds. Now you have Fulton and Figueroa putting their world titles on the line at 122.
On paper, this junior featherweight unification showdown has the makings of being one of the best matches of the year. If this press event is evidence, they plan on bringing their A-game. If that happens, both fans and pundits are in for a hell of a fight.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.