Ronny Rios anxious to take on Brandon Figueroa
Junior featherweight contender Ronny Rios is urging the WBA to do their jobs.
Back in March, the WBA ordered their “regular” 122-pound titleholder, Brandon Figueroa, to defend his belt against Rios.
The sanctioning body gave both sides the standard 30 days to negotiate. Usually, if a deal is not reached within that time frame, a purse bid would be ordered. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, talks never got off the ground.
Rios (32-3, 16 knockouts), who scored the biggest victory of his career last July when he stunned previously unbeaten Diego De La Hoya in a sixth-round knockout, is calling on the WBA to get back on the ball and make the fight happen.
“I hope they will live up to their expectations,” Rios told The Ring. “They wrote in a letter to me that this fight was ordered to be made in March of this year.”
Rios, 31, who resides in Santa Ana, California, added that while he understands that the COVID-19 pandemic is still an ongoing matter, it’s no excuse for holding them back.
“I have been the mandatory for almost a year now,” he added. “So why should we have to fight anyone else when we can just fight each other and give fight fans around the world the fight that everybody wants to see?”
Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs), 23, of Weslaco, Texas, The Ring’s No. 6-rated junior featherweight, defended the belt for the first time last November when he fought Julio Ceja to a split draw.
Rios, who has knocked out his last three opponents following a sixth-round knockout loss at the hands of Azat Hovhannisyan in March 2018, noted some of Figueroa’s weaknesses.
“This is a perfect opportunity for me because Figueroa is very easy to hit,” Rios said. “He just stands right there in front of you, so I would say his defense needs a lot of improvement.”
Rios went on to say that he hopes Figueroa will exemplify the heart of a “true champion.”
“The champion should always seek tough fights to test themselves and to prove people wrong,” he continued. “I hope he takes the challenge, and I also hope the WBA will make the fight happen.”
While Rios wouldn’t directly predict the outcome of their potential fight, he kept it simple.
“I see myself as victorious,” he said. “I don’t want to say that I’m going to knock him out because I don’t want to be careless.
“I’m not focused on anyone else right now but Figueroa. I’m next in line to face him, so he’s the only person on my mind right now.”
Editor’s Note: Figueroa hold a version of the WBA 122-pound title which is unrecognised by The Ring. Murodjon Akhmadaliev is the WBA junior featherweight titleholder.