In a thrilling contest between two former world champions desperate to return to world title glory, Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa improved round-by-round to win a unanimous decision over Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo, capturing the vacant Interim WBC Featherweight Title live on SHOWTIME from Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif. topping a Premier Boxing Champions event.
“Man, I just went out there and wanted it and took the fight right to him,” said Figueroa. “I wanted this fight so bad. He came back a little, but once I hit him with a body shot it affected him and I put pressure, pressure, pressure on him.”
In a fight that didn’t appear as one-sided as the judges’ scorecards, Figueroa (24-1-1, 18 KOs) won by scores of 117-109 twice and 118-108. SHOWTIME’s Hall of Fame unofficial scorer Steve Farhood saw the fight 114-112 in favor of Figueroa, with two Magsayo point deductions for holding the difference in the fight on his scorecard.
“I thought the fight was much closer than the scores indicated,” Magsayo said. “I don’t know how to explain the scorecards or the point deductions. It’s very disappointing. I plan to move up to 130 pounds after this fight.”
Figueroa, who averages 92 punches thrown per round throughout his career, was limited to 54 punches thrown per round against Magsayo (24-2, 16 KOs). Figueroa threw 60 more punches than Magsayo but landed three fewer punches and the fighters were separated by more than four landed punches in just three of the twelve rounds.
Figueroa started slowly and had to withstand Magsayo’s best shots early in the fight, demonstrating that he has one of the best chins in boxing. But Magsayo tired as the rounds went on and was twice penalized for holding in rounds eight and eleven.
Figueroa, the former 122-pound world champion, is now in line to face WBC Featherweight World Champion Rey Vargas next. Vargas was ringside Saturday night.
“I felt strong,” the 26-year-old native of Weslaco, Texas said. “I just don’t stop. I don’t get tired and I’m relentless and I came forward and I wanted the fight. Whoever wants to fight me, I’ll fight. I want to fight for a world title. I just want to give the fans the fights they want.”
In a slugfest of a co-main event, power-punching Mexican Armando Reséndiz (14-1, 10 KOs) delivered a star-making performance, battering “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (24-3, 16 KOs) and spoiling the former unified 154-pound world champion’s comeback fight. The ringside physician stopped the contest five seconds into the tenth and final round due to a severe laceration on Hurd’s lip.
The determined Reséndiz outworked Hurd, landing 280 of his 780 punches thrown, the most connected punches of any Hurd opponent. In the spirited middleweight scrap, Hurd had his moments on the attack, connecting on 228 of his 562 (40 percent) punches thrown. However, Hurd, in his first fight in 21 months, was unable to overcome Reséndiz’s pressure and volume punching. Reséndiz landed 206 power punches, eventually opening up a deep cut on Hurd’s lip that caused the fight to end. At the time of the stoppage, Reséndiz was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards.
“I was visualizing this fight for so long, how I was going to win this fight,” Reséndiz said in the ring through SHOWTIME interpreter Felix DeJesus. “It was all about heart, but I know I can be even better and you’ll see what I mean in my next fight. I told everyone I was willing to go to war, I’m Mexican, after all. It was a strong, physical fight just like we expected. The results speak for themselves.”
Hurd tried working his jab early, landing a total of 27 jabs in rounds three and four, but fighting for just the third time in over three years, Hurd faded as the rounds went on. In rounds six through nine, Reséndiz landed 106 power punches while limiting Hurd to 69 landed power punches.
“I knew this was going to be a tough, toe-to-to fight based on our styles,” said the 32-year-old Hurd, who lost inside the distance for the first time in his career. “But I only had to make it one more round. I wish I could have finished it, but my lip was cut too bad. So, congratulations to Reséndiz. I definitely wish I could have continued. At no point was I hurt at all in that fight, but I have to respect what the doctors say and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
In the telecast opener, fast-rising teenager Elijah Garcia (14-0, 12 KOs) rose to the occasion in a massive step-up fight, dropping and stopping previously undefeated middleweight contender Amilcar Vidal, Jr. (16-1, 12 KOs) with a barrage of punches at 2:17 of the fourth round.
From the opening bell, Garcia initiated a two-way action fight that came to a sudden end when Vidal was stunned by a right hand to the head and retreated against the ropes in search of cover. The 19-year-old Garcia sensed he had hurt his opponent and pounced, unleashing a flurry of punches that dropped Vidal and forced referee Jack Reiss to stop the fight.
“This is what everyone dreams of, so this isn’t a surprise,” said Phoenix’s Garcia, who has now stopped six of his last seven opponents. “This is what I worked for since I turned pro so we’re going to keep moving forward one step at a time.”
Through just three-and-a-half rounds of a back-and-forth affair, both fighters were bloodied and combined for 189 punches landed and 593 punches thrown. The power punches were the difference in the fight as Garcia landed 54 percent of his power punches to Vidal’s 46 percent. In the fourth round, Garcia landed 62 percent of his power punches including the all-decisive final blows.
“I stay ready and mentally I’m strong,” Garcia continued. “I know mentally I might have lost the first couple of rounds, but I was breaking him down. He started backing up. He’s a great opponent. No disrespect to him. I caught him and I finished him. I’m not sure what I hurt him with, but I know I hurt him and for me being 19 I have the maturity to tell if they’re hurt or not.”
After emphatically announcing himself to the boxing world in his national television debut, Garcia promised that his newly earned fans would be seeing plenty more of him.
“I might become a champion before I’m 21 or 22,” he said. “I might be ahead of schedule.”