Gato Figueroa Emerges Victorious

17.04.07 - Although it was his very first time fighting in Florida, if you didn't know any better you'd think that Francisco "El Gato" Figueroa (who recently moved to Miami from the Bronx) had lived in the Southern Florida area his entire life..

Long before Figueroa, the New York State light welterweight and WBC Intercontinental Mundo Hispano Champion, 28, entered the ring to face his Columbian opponent, Ilido Julio, at the Palm Beach Convention Center, in West Palm Beach, Florida, he made sure he got acquainted with the hometown crowd; immediately the locals fell in love with the extremely personable Figueroa.

Moments before engaging in the match (that followed his knock out victory against 44 fight veteran Antonio Ramirez at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on March 22) the announcer introduced Figueroa as "boxing's best kept secret" and the convention center was in an uproar.

The fight, billed "Friday the 13th Massacre," was clearly one of the most aggressive bouts Figueroa's ever fought, mainly because of his opponent's unethical fight tactics. Julio, a former IBO flyweight Champion, fought face forward the entire fight. However, Figueroa was throwing one punch at time and then set it off with explosive five and six punch combos.

Figueroa's killer instinct was evident throughout the match, as an agitated Julio, struck Figueroa with a low blow in the fourth round and several head butts througouht the fight, which caused Figueroa to become very volatile. Meanwhile, the crowd continued to chant, "Gato, Gato, Gato," in support.

In round four when the referee stated, "break, no punch," Julio used the opportunity to hit Figueroa with a rabbit punch. (which resulted in a point for Julio). In turn, Figueroa landed a stiff left to Julio's ear. Shortly after, junior welterweight contender, Juan Urango, who was in Julio's corner, requested that the judge stop the fight, causing Figueroa to gain another win by way of TKO.

Upon the oppposition throwing the towel in Figueroa asked Julio, "why are you fighting so dirty?" Julio response was, "You hit hard! I was getting tired. There was no way I was going win as hard as you hit." However being the good sport that he is, Figueroa lifted his opponent by the legs into the air and showed no hard feelings.

Although Figueroa's fight against Julio was a co-feature, on a card headlined by David Estrada, who also emerged victorious, Figueroa undeniably stole the show.

Figueroa's record escalates to 16 wins, 12 KOs, 2. losses. Julio's record falls to 35wins, 31KOs, 11 losses.


Article posted on 17.04.2007

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