Showtime/PBC Pivots To Brandon Figueroa Against Mark Magsayo
After negotiation and belief that a rematch between unified super bantamweight champ Stephen Fulton and Brandon Figueroa would happen in late February that bout didn’t finalize. It’s believed that Fulton will instead battle former undisputed bantamweight champ Naoya “the Monster” Inoue in a mega-bout in Japan next.
So, the Texan Figueroa, a former world champ himself, needed a quality fight/opponent for his next trip into the ring. And, Showtime Sports/PBC have gotten one. Figueroa will now meet former featherweight title holder Mark Magsayo of the Phillipines in March,
JUST ANNOUNCED: @BrandonLeeFig and @markmagsayo_MMM meet for the vacant Interim WBC Featherweight Title, and former Unified World Champion @Swift_JHurd takes on Armando Reséndiz on Saturday, March 4, live on @ShowtimeBoxing ! #FigueroaMagsayo #HurdResendiz pic.twitter.com/t4BcPm06Tz
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) January 31, 2023
From the Showtime release Tuesday,
“…Hard-hitting star Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa will meet Filipino sensation Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo for the vacant Interim WBC Featherweight Title on Saturday, March 4 live on SHOWTIME from Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif. topping a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will also feature the return of former unified world champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd as he takes on the power-punching Armando Reséndiz in the 10-round middleweight co-main event. Kicking off the telecast is an intriguing clash of unbeaten young middleweights as Amilcar Vidal and Elijah Garcia meet in a 10-round attraction.
“Saturday, March 4 will be headlined by an explosive clash of exciting styles, as Brandon Figueroa and Mark Magsayo are sure to go toe-to-toe to secure their standing in the featherweight division,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions.
Figueroa looking to reclaim a title
The 26-year-old Figueroa (22-1-1, 17 KOs) was dynamic in his 126-pound debut, swarming and dominating Carlos Castro on his way to a sixth-round TKO on SHOWTIME in July 2021. The bout was his first since a 2021 Fight of the Year against Stephen Fulton Jr., which some observers thought ended in controversy after the majority decision loss for Figueroa.
A native of Weslaco, Texas, Figueroa’s relentless pressure and youthful enthusiasm helped him become the first person to defeat former division champion Luis Nery in their championship clash on SHOWTIME prior to the Fulton fight. Figueroa added to his family’s legacy by capturing the WBC 122-pound world title against Nery, joining his brother Omar Figueroa Jr., who previously held the WBC lightweight world championship.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring to do what I love,” said Figueroa. “I want to fight the best, so I’m very motivated to be up against a former champion at featherweight like Magsayo. I’m confident that we’re going to give the fans a great fight, because neither of us like to take a step back. This is my chance to really show what I’m capable of at 126 pounds and I’m just eager to dominate and prove it to the world.”
The Philippines’ Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs) became the latest champion from the boxing-rich nation in January 2022 when he outpointed boxing’s then longest-reigning male world champion Gary Russell Jr. to capture the 126-pound title on SHOWTIME. Magsayo will look to move closer to regaining that title on March 4, after he lost a narrow split-decision to Rey Vargas last July, despite dropping Vargas in round nine.
The 27-year-old earned his first title opportunity by knocking out former champion Julio Ceja in the 10th round of a fight he trailed on the scorecards in August 2021. Magsayo is trained by Freddie Roach in Southern California and owns 12-round decision victories over Shoto Hayashi and Ramiro Robles, in addition to a sixth-round stoppage of former title challenger Chris Avalos.
“Figueroa and I both like to move forward, so everyone knows exactly what kind of fight this will be,” said Magsayo. “My goals are to give the fans the action they love and to regain my place in this division. I’m ready to face anyone they put in front of me. This is a true Mexican vs. Filipino style matchup, and I can’t wait to get back in the ring to perform once again.”
The 32-year-old Hurd (24-2, 16 KOs) unified the WBA and IBF 154-pound titles in 2018, dropping longtime champion Erislandy Lara in the final round to win a close decision in a fight that was the consensus 2018 Fight of the Year. The Accokeek, Md, native would go on to lose the titles in one of 2019’s best fights, dropping a decision to Julian Williams.
Hurd first became champion in February 2017 when he stopped former champion Tony Harrison in the ninth round, before defending the title against another former champion in Austin Trout. Hurd will return to the ring having most recently dropped a narrow split-decision against tricky veteran Luis Arias in June 2021.
“Y’all must’ve forgot, but I’m back to remind you what ‘Swift’ Jarrett Hurd is all about,” said Hurd. “I’m in a new weight class and I’m looking to dominate like I did at 154 pounds. I can’t wait to show everyone what I’ve been working on in the gym and display my talents on March 4. I know Reséndiz is going to make the most of this opportunity, but I’m ready to make a big statement of my own.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday, February 1 at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com.
In that hotly contested decision loss 2021 with Fulton in November 2021 Figueroa spent the entire bout brawling and throwing repeated big punches for 12 rounds with Fulton. In the end Fulton got the nod and now, has business with Inoue. But, could easily come back to Figueroa late in 2023 if both fighters win their next bouts.