Former WBC super bantamweight champ Brandon Figueroa will be back in action in the co-feature of the Showtime/PBC card that will see WBC Featherweight World Champion Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo take on former world champion Rey Vargas in a battle of unbeatens July 9 from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The network made the undercard bouts official Tuesday, including lightweight rising star Frank Martin who’ll also be part of the show.
Figueroa is moving up and taking on Carlos Castro in a WBC featherweight title eliminator bout to likely get the winner of Magsayo-Vargas in 2023.
As we wrote previously, Magsayo will make the first defense of his 126 lb. title that he won in an upset majority decision over Gary Russell, Jr. back in January.
“Saturday, July 9 will be topped by a showdown between champions as the Philippines’ Mark Magsayo makes his first title defense against the unbeaten Mexican, Rey Vargas, who will be looking to become a two-division champion at Alamodome on July 9 in San Antonio,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions.
“This card will also see the return of one of the sport’s most exciting young stars, as all-action Brandon Figueroa steps back into the ring looking to make his mark in the featherweight division, beginning with a world title eliminator against the always tough Carlos Castro. Kicking off the action will be the highly-skilled rising lightweight contender, Frank Martin, in a tough test against the hard-hitting Ricardo Núñez.”
The Filipino sensation Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) fights out of Pasig City, Metro Manila by way of Los Angeles, CA, and is trained by Freddie Roach.
“I am very thankful to my team for giving me the opportunity to defend my title in San Antonio,” said Magsayo. “I’m excited to be fighting in the same venue where my idol Manny Pacquiao fought Marco Antonio Barrera. That was the first fight I ever saw and the reason I started boxing. We are preparing for a strong Mexican fighter in Rey Vargas. Everyone knows what the Philippines vs. Mexico boxing rivalry brings to the ring and I’m excited to display my talents for the boxing fans in Texas and watching around the world.”
The former WBC 122-pound world champion, Vargas (35-0, 22 KOs), returned from a layoff due to injury to score a near shutout decision victory over Leonardo Baez in his featherweight debut in November 2021 on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant. The 31-year-old went on the road to the U.K. to capture his title in 2017, winning a decision over previously unbeaten Gavin McDonnell. A native of Mexico City, Vargas made five successful defenses of his title, defeating top contenders Oscar Negrete, Ronny Rios and Azat Hovhannisyan. His fifth successful title defense came via unanimous decision over former world champion Tomoki Kameda in July 2019.
“This fight on July 9 will be a great battle against the Filipino warrior Mark Magsayo,” said Vargas, who trains under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristáin. “This is going to be exciting combat from start to finish. We know that he has great power, but we’ll be ready to counter that, and anything else he brings to the ring. This is going to be a magnificent fight and I can’t wait to step in there and compete.”
The 25-year-old Figueroa (22-1-1, 17 KOs) will debut at 126 pounds after dropping a 2021 Fight of the Year contender against Stephen Fulton Jr. in November on Showtime, in which the two champions traded blows for 12 grueling rounds, eventually leading to what some observers thought was a controversial majority decision loss. Figueroa used his youth and relentless pressure to become the first person to defeat Luis Nery in their championship clash on Showtime prior to the Fulton fight.
A native of Weslaco, Texas, who has previously fought in San Antonio six times, Figueroa added to his family’s legacy by capturing the world title, joining his brother Omar Figueroa, who previously held the lightweight world championship.
“I’ve been waiting to get back in the ring to do what I love,” said Figueroa. “Carlos Castro is a great fighter and we both have to prove why we belong at the top of the 126-pound division. I can’t wait to fight in San Antonio in front of my fans, it’s really one of my favorite places to compete and I’m planning on giving everyone who comes out a great show like always.”
Additional coverage will include a pair of bouts streamed live on the SHOWTIME SPORTS YouTube channel beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The action will see unbeaten welterweight contender Rashidi Ellis facing Argentine Olympian Alberto Palmetta in a 10-round duel, plus San Antonio’s own Ramon Cardenas battling Venezuela’s Michell Banquez in a 10-round bantamweight attraction.