By: Sean Crose
Brandon Figueroa can put his punches together. He can also maintain range very effectively. He can also end a fight early, as three of his last four opponents can tell you. Yet the undefeated, 22-0-1, 24 year old WBC super bantamweight champion may have his hands full Saturday night at the Park Theater in Las Vegas when he faces the undefeated 19-0 WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton. Known as “Cool Boy Steph,” Fulton can simultaneously push the action while also employing high end defense – a rare feat. What’s more, he can work the body like it’s no one’s business.
Not that Figueroa can’t work the body himself. Just ask his last opponent, Luis Nery, who he took out with a perfectly placed gut shot in the seventh. What makes this weekend’s title unifier interesting is it’s hard to tell who is going to assert himself more effectively. Both men have heart and each man can go in for the long haul during a bout. The twenty-seven year old Fulton, for instance, fights out of Philly, which means he comes out of a boxing culture born out of grittiness. Figueroa, on the other hand, is the brother of former titlist Omar Figueroa, which means he’s from a boxing family. They may have things in common, but it may well be the little differences that will make all the difference when Fulton and Figueroa do battle in their scheduled 12 rounder tomorrow night.
The undefeated, 18-0, super bantamweight Raeese Aleem will also be appearing on this weekend’s card when he faces off against the 20-1-2 Eduardo Baez in a scheduled 10 rounder. Aleem has dusted his last three opponents within the distance, the most recent being Vic Basillas, who Aleem stopped in the eleventh. As for Baez, his only loss came at the gloved fists of Maricia Lara a full thirteen fights ago. Baez’ latest battle ended in his favor via a second round stoppage over Arcadio Salazar.
Lastly, the 18-0 Gary Antonio Russell will face the 24-2-5 Alexandro Santiago on Saturday in a scheduled 10 rounder at bantamweight. The 28 year old Russell’s last fight was ruled a no contest between he and Emmanuel Rodriguez thanks to an accidental head butt that occurred 16 seconds into the first round. As for Rodriguez, the 25 year old emerged victorious from his last battle – a second round knockout of Juan Gabriel Medina.
The Figueroa – Fulton card will be aired live on Showtime starting at 10 pm eastern time Saturday night.
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