La Feria News

Weslaco Native Vies for Interim WBC Lightweight Title

Omar Figueroa Jr.
Nickname – Panterita
Height – 5’ 8”
Weight – 135 (lightweight)
Date of Birth – Dec. 13, 1989
Hometown – Weslaco, Texas
Record – 21-0-1 (17 KO’s)

A proud native of Weslaco, Texas, Omar Figueroa Jr. is the first Golden Boy Promotions fighter from the Rio Grande Valley, and the 23-year-old power puncher is pleased to lead the way for his fellow Texans.

Unbeaten in 22 fights, with 16 of his wins coming by knockout in three rounds or less, Figueroa has torn through his opposition since turning pro with a 25 second stoppage of Edwin Espinoza in June of 2008.

16 more KO victories have followed for the 5-foot-8 lightweight prospect, who began boxing at the age of seven under the tutelage of his father, Omar Sr, a former fighter himself.

In December of 2009, Figueroa halted Anthony Woods in two rounds on the Juan Diaz vs Paul Malignaggi undercard at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, showing that he was ready to take his game to the next level, and he has not disappointed.

2010 saw “Panterita” defeat Edgar Portillo and Julian Rodriguez, and though he ended the year with a hard-fought eight round draw against 15-4 Arturo Quintero, he made it a clean sweep in 2011, compiling victories over John Figueroa (KO2), Eric Cruz (W8), and Marcos Herrera (KO2) to improve to 13-0-1 and set up a January 6, 2012 clash on Showtime against fellow prospect Michael Perez, which he won in punishing fashion, forcing Perez to retire in his corner after the sixth round.

The win gave Figueroa the vacant WBO youth lightweight title, and just two months later, he was back on Showtime, knocking out Ramon Ayala in two rounds.

On May 5, 2012, Figueroa stopped Missouri’s Robbie Cannon in a bout on the Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto undercard in Las Vegas, and Tyler Ziolkowski and Alain Hernandez were each finished in less than a round in June bouts, setting up a July 21 battle with Dominic Salcido that saw Figueroa win a clear cut 10 round decision over the talented veteran.

After a brief break from the ring, Figueroa returned in March of 2013, taking only 47 seconds to knock out Henry Aurad and set up a SHOWTIME co-main event bout on April 20 against fellow unbeaten Abner Cotto. Cotto’s undefeated record didn’t last long though, as Figueroa blasted him out in less than a round.

On July 27, Figueroa returns to the ring to battle Japan’s Nihito Arakawa for the interim WBC lightweight title.

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