Friday, June 09, 2023  |



Omar Figueroa Jr.: Jerry Belmontes ‘will do his best to stay away from me’

Fighters Network

WBC lightweight titleholder Omar Figueroa Jr. declared his hand to be "a close to 100 percent as possible" heading into Saturday's defense against spoiler Jerry Belmontes in the opening bout of the Showtime-televised tripleheader at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

The 24-year-old Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 knockouts) had to pull out of a scheduled March 8 defense against Ricardo Alvarez due to the injury, which he said is doing much better.

"It was the left hand, but it feels great. We've been working on it thoroughly in camp, so it's about as close to 100 percent as possible," said Figueroa. "The weight's good. We're about four pounds above. Normally I'm a bit higher. But we've been working a lot better this camp."

Figueroa will be in the opening bout of a card headlined by welterweight boxer-puncher Keith "One Time" Thurman against two-time lightweight titlewinner Julio Diaz, and THE RING's No. 1-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse opposite rugged former lightweight puncher John Molina.

An all-action, fan-friendly fighter, Figueroa won his belt against Nihito Arakawa, flooring the Japanese veteran twice during a unanimous decision last July. March 8 was a banner night for the 25-year-old Belmontes (19-3, 5 KOs), who spoiled the U.S. debut of previously unbeaten Will Tomlinson of Australia with a unanimous decision victory.

"I'm going to go out there and do my best and fight my fight," said Figueroa, "and he's going to do his best to stay away from me. So we'll see how that turns out."

Asked if a body attack was important against Belmontes, Figueroa said, "Definitely."

"That's what I do every day. That's my fight. That's what I do," said Figueroa. "It's going to be a good fight, it's going to be an enjoyable fight, and I'm going to do my best to make it entertaining and we'll see how it goes from there."

In addition, Figueroa, of Weslaco, Texas, never has beaten amateur nemesis Belmontes, of Corpus Christi, Texas, who said that he has beaten Figueroa five times, stopping him twice.

"Every fight is a defining fight. I just don't want to disappoint the fans," said Figueroa. "Because, clearly, they're who makes us who we are. I'm going to do my best do put on a great performance and we'll go from there."