Undefeated super bantamweight champions Luis “Pantera” Nery and Brandon “Heartbreaker” Figueroa faced off Thursday at the final press conference before their world title clash live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, May 15 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
(Photo credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME)
The press conference also featured former unified super bantamweight champion Danny Roman and hard-hitting Ricardo Espinoza, who meet in the 10-round co-main event, plus undefeated super featherweight contender Xavier Martinez and former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos, who duel in a 10-round showdown that kicks off the telecast at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions. Martinez vs. Burgos is promoted in association with Mayweather Promotions.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com. Dignity Health Sports Park will be open to fans in a limited capacity, with all guests remaining socially distanced and subject to local and state health guidelines throughout the event.
Nery vs. Figueroa will see the powerful two-division champion Nery pursue a signature win at super bantamweight, while the rising Figueroa looks to use his all-action style to earn a career-best victory and announce his presence amongst the sport’s elite. The winner of this fight will face WBO 122-pound champion Stephen Fulton, Jr. on September 11 on SHOWTIME in a unification showdown.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday:
“In the ring, I’m going for the finish. Everything is on the line. I just have to prove what I’m capable of inside the ring. I don’t care about anything else but that.
“I think people got carried away about my performance from my last fight. You’re going to see that my power translates on Saturday. Brandon is going to be the first person to see how my power really translates to super bantamweight.
“We’ve all been waiting to fight with fans in the stands. The fans are part of the thrill of boxing and how boxing is supposed to be. I can’t wait.
“I’m ready to fight anybody that will improve my legacy. I want to keep winning and moving up divisions and putting together a resume that matches up with all of the legendary Mexican fighters.
“Brandon’s style really fits with what I want to do in the ring. I know that I can achieve everything that I want in this division and show all of my skills in this fight. This style will go better with mine than Aaron Alameda’s did in my last fight.
“We just need to put on a great fight Saturday. This is going to be an all-out war from the first round on. People are going to be talking about it for a long time after.
“I’m only focused on Brandon Figueroa. After that fight, I’ll be ready for Stephen Fulton, Jr. Once I beat him too, he can tell me how my power feels at this weight.”
“I had what was probably one of the best training camps of my career. I’m more than ready for this fight. I feel like all of my advantages are going to be used Saturday night and I just can’t wait. It’s going to be an exciting fight. If I’m this excited now, I can’t imagine what it’s like with the fans there. I’m willing to put it all on the line Saturday night.
“Nery is going to learn a lot about me on Saturday night. My size will definitely help me. I feel like he hasn’t fought a guy this big, this strong and he’s going to find out on Saturday night. I’ve trained tremendously for this fight. I have the best conditioning in the 122-pound division. My volume output speaks for itself and I feel like a lot of people underestimate me. After Saturday night, they won’t. Once the bell rings, it’s go-time and I come to fight. I come one hundred percent and I’m coming to take that belt home.
“This game is all about proving yourself in and out of the ring. I feel like my hard work speaks for itself. My fights speak for themselves. I’m just glad I get to share the ring with Luis Nery. I know he comes to win as well, but I don’t think he wants it as bad as I do. If it goes my way, Stephen Fulton is next and that’s a fight that I’ve been wanting for a long time. It’s time to unify. If that’s not what you come to boxing for, then what are you in boxing for?
“Fulton is the fight I’ve been wanting. I know he’s been talking a lot. First of all, I need to get through Luis Nery. I just can’t wait for these big fights and these big names. I’ve been trying to fight Fulton for a while and now it’s going to be made if everything goes well Saturday night. He’d be next and I can’t wait to put on a show again.
“I know Luis Nery comes to fight. He’s a strong fighter at the 118-pound division but the 122-pound division is a different story. I feel like we’re just going to have to find out Saturday night, though. I come forward. I bring the pressure and I’m definitely going to bring the power, the size, and all the advantages I have to make sure that we give the fans a great show. I do respect him as a fighter but we’re just going to have to find out Saturday.
“I feel like this is a fight that could be Fight of the Year. I know everything is on the line and I’m going to go out there and make sure I give it my all. If I do that, it’s going to be a great fight.”
“I’m a former unified champion and I’m still overlooked. I’m still the guy who you have to beat at super bantamweight.
“I’m going against a great opponent. He has a high knockout rate, so I have to fight a smart fight. Props to him for taking the fight, but I’m not overlooking him. Everyone is a threat when they get in that ring.
“I know that the champions are trying to avoid me and skip over me for other fights. But I deserve respect and I’m going to show why they’re avoiding me on Saturday.
“Espinoza is a great fighter who has great power. I’m taking this fight like I’m facing another champion. Anything can happen inside of the ring. All I can control is my performance against Espinoza on Saturday.
“I’m trying to make a statement on Saturday night. I’m going to show everyone that I’m still at the championship level.”
“Danny Roman has fought some really quality opponents that are high in the rankings, but this is my time. This is when I show that I can step up in competition and prove that I belong with the best.
“The reason why I think I’m going to win this fight, more than anything, is because I believe in myself. I have a great team behind me and if I have faith in myself, all good things are going to happen from now on.
“I admire a lot of fighters but I don’t want to compare myself to any of them. I am Ricardo Espinoza and I’m one of a kind.
“Danny Roman is definitely a great opponent and I feel like my preparation and training can showcase why I can be considered one of the best in the division. Saturday night will be a great showcase for me.”
“You’re going to see me stay composed throughout this whole fight. I was winning my last fight decisively and I got too overconfident. I fell asleep against an experienced fighter and he took advantage, but I was still able to get the win. I learned from that and I’m going to take it into this fight.
“I’m not too worried about a late opponent change. I had a sparring partner who was very similar to Burgos, so it worked out well. This is another big fight for me. Fighting someone with his experience will make me step up my game.
“I think fighting in front of the fans is going to help all of us. The fans give us a lot of drive. It’s going to make this an even more exciting night.
“This is boxing, and in order to find out what you’re made of in this sport, you have to go through adversity. Getting knocked down two times can defeat a fighter mentality. I learned a lot from that fight and it’s helped me become a more mature fighter.
“I’m going to keep my foot on the gas. I’m going to stay on my toes. All it takes is one punch to change the fight. I just have to stick to the game plan.”
JUAN CARLOS BURGOS
“The fight will be on short notice, but it won’t affect me at all because I have been training since January. I was going to fight in Tijuana on February 27, that didn’t happen. I was going to fight in early May, that didn’t happen. So even though the fight is on short notice, I am plenty ready to go on Saturday night.
“Xavier Martinez is a good fighter. He is undefeated for a reason and I’m sure that we’re both going to give the fans a show. It’s going to be a great fight but I am coming plenty prepared and ready to give the fans the show they deserve.
“There is a reputation that I have come up short in the big fights. But against ‘Rocky’ Martinez for example, I felt like I won the title and the judges just robbed it from me. I am more than ready to redeem myself and show what I am capable of on Saturday night.
“This is definitely a big fight for me and I’m going to have a great opponent in front of me in Xavier Martinez. I have a lot to give still and I want to show that Juan Carlos Burgos is here to stay still.”