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Brandon Figueroa Clears the Way to Face Rey Vargas 

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  • Brandon Figueroa Clears the Way to Face Rey Vargas 

    American Brandon Figueroa prevailed with a controversial decision over Filipino Mark Magsayo on Saturday, March 4, at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, where he won the Interim WBC belt in the featherweight division.

    With the victory by unanimous decision, his second since moving up to 126 pounds, Figueroa (24-1-1, 18 KOs) cleared the way to face Mexican Rey Vargas, the WBC champion.

    A few weeks ago, on February 11, Vargas (36-1, 22 KOs) lost his undefeated record to American O'Shaquie "Ice Water" Foster (20-2, 11 KOs) in an attempt to seize the vacant 130-pound belt. However, that loss did not affect his status in the lower division.

    Moments after the victory, Figueroa said, “Man, I just went out there and wanted it and took the fight right to him. 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.”

    “I felt strong,” Figueroa continued. “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 his debut in the featherweight division in July of last year, Figueroa anesthetized Mexican Carlos Castro (27-2, 12 KOs) in the sixth round at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Figueroa sent Castro to the canvas in the third round.

    Twenty months ago, Figueroa suffered the only defeat of his career, at the hands of undefeated American Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) in a unification bout for the WBC and WBO belts.

    Mark Magsayo (24-2, 16 KOs) and his representatives thought the judges' scores in the loss to Figueroa were unfair. In the locker room, Magsayo told reporters, “I thought the fight was much closer than the scores indicated. 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.”

    “I felt like the referee was one-sided,“ said Magsayo. “I feel like if there were no deductions, I’m gonna win the fight. I hit him with solid punches, he felt them, and he was hurt.”

    Magsayo was referring to the two points that referee Thomas Taylor took from him for holding in the eighth and 11th rounds. But even apart from these sanctions, Magsayo and his team felt the judges’ scores were disproportionate.

    Gary Ritter and Fernando Villarreal offered scores of 117-109, while Zachary Young (118-108) gave 10 rounds (including the last nine) to Figueroa and only two to Magsayo.

    According to CompuBox, Figueroa threw 653 punches and landed 176 times, versus Magsayo who threw 593 punches and landed 179 times. In power shots, the difference was only one, and it was in favor of Figueroa (161 to 160).

    Sean Gibbons, Magsayo’s promoter, was angry and said that he understood that the judges could see things differently, but in his opinion, they saw something different from what thousands of people had just witnessed. He stated, “You cannot, no matter how you add it up, score rounds four (through) twelve for Brandon Figueroa. You just can’t do it. This man fought his *** off. And everybody saw the fight.”

    Gibbons also explained, “He was feeling like moving up to 130 before this opportunity came up. We were going up to 130 but then the Figueroa fight came and he says for this type of fight I’m gonna make it. It wasn’t easy, he got there but it took something out of him.”

    Magsayo, 27 years old and based in California , lost by split decision in his previous bout against Rey Vargas in July of last year, where Vargas’ WBC featherweight belt was at stake.

    Article submitted by Jorge Juan Álvarez in Spanish.

    Please note any adjustments made were for clarification purposes and any errors in translation were unintentional.