Undefeated super bantamweight champions will meet for 122-pound supremacy when Luis Nery makes the first defense of his WBC world title against Brandon “Heartbreaker” Figueroa in the headline attraction of a three-fight card live on SHOWTIME Saturday, May 15 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will see former unified super bantamweight champion Danny Roman take on hard-hitting Ricardo Espinoza Franco in the 10-round co-main event, plus in the telecast opener undefeated super featherweight contender Xavier Martinez squares off against former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos in a 12-round WBA Super Featherweight Title Eliminator.
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 be in line to face WBO 122-pound champion Stephen Fulton later this year in a unification showdown.
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions. Martinez vs. Burgos is promoted in association with Mayweather Promotions.
“The super bantamweight division is one of boxing’s most intriguing, and this showdown between Nery and Figueroa will be a huge step towards declaring the king of the weight class,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “These two undefeated 122-pound champions will leave it all in the ring in front of the passionate Southern California fight fans on May 15. With two Mexican-warriors going toe-to-toe, this is a main event that you won’t want to miss a second of.”
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.
The Tijuana, Mexico native Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) became a two-division world champion in September as he won a wide unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Aaron Alameda to capture his WBC crown. The 26-year-old had held an 11-fight knockout streak entering that 122-pound title fight, establishing himself as a premier knockout artist at bantamweight during a run that included stoppages of former champions McJoe Arroyo and Juan Carlos Payano. Nery first became champion in 2017, when he went to Japan and stopped Shinsuke Yamanaka in his home country to capture the WBC bantamweight world title.
“This is one of the biggest fights of my career,” said Nery. “I am going to win this fight in spectacular fashion. I’m training hard every day to make sure I get the win on May 15. This is my time to make history for Mexico.”
The 24-year-old Figueroa (21-0-1, 16 KOs) returns to the ring after his most recent outing saw him stop Damien Vazquez in round 10 of their September 2020 clash. Figueroa applied his all-action style scoring knockouts over veteran contenders Moises Flores and Oscar Escandon to move his way up the 122-pound rankings. He captured the WBA’s interim super bantamweight title by stopping Yonfrez Parejo in April 2019, before eventually being elevated to “regular” champion. Figueroa has trained for this career-defining bout in Southern California, alongside his brother and former world champion Omar Figueroa.
“Training camp out here in California with Joel Diaz has been amazing,” said Figueroa. “I’m in tremendous shape and I’ll be ready to go on May 15. This is really one of the best training camps of my career. I know Nery is a tough fighter, maybe my toughest test to date. I’m 24 now, so it’s time for me to start fighting these world class fighters and prove to myself that I belong in there with the best fighters. I know Stephen Fulton is lined up for the winner of this fight, but I’m preparing 110% for Nery. I know he’s not just any fighter, so I’m doing everything I can to come away with the win on May 15.”
Ranked in the top five by all four sanctioning bodies at super bantamweight, Roman (27-3-1, 10 KOs) will look to continue on his path back toward another world title when he steps in the ring on May 15. The 30-year-old from Los Angeles most recently won an exciting 12-round unanimous decision over former champion Juan Carlos Payano last September. Roman first became world champion in 2017, when he stopped Shun Kubo for the WBA title. Roman would go on to unify titles by beating TJ Doheny for his IBF strap in 2019, before losing a narrow split decision to Murodjon Akhmadaliev in January 2020.
“I’m delighted to be fighting once again and can’t wait to step into the ring May 15 on SHOWTIME,” said Roman. “Ricardo Espinoza is a very tough fighter with a lot of heart. I know this fight is going to be another war and I’m fully prepared to go to battle. I’ve stayed in shape since my last fight, so fans can expect to see me throw a lot of punches. I’m going to make this fight a classic Mexican showdown.”
The 23-year-old Espinoza (25-3, 21 KOs) has fought professionally since 2015 and has won 15 of his last 16 fights heading into May 15. Fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico, Espinoza dropped a bantamweight interim title fight to current world champion John Riel Casimero in 2019 via a 12th round knockout in a fight that was virtually tied on the cards. Espinoza bounced back with two straight victories, including his most recent triumph, a unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Brandon Valdes last August.
“I’m training as hard as I ever have for this opportunity on May 15,” said Espinoza. “I feel strong and prepared for anything Roman is going to throw at me. I know that he’s an accomplished fighter, but I have all of the tools to be victorious and win an exciting fight that the fans are going to love.”
A Mayweather Promotions prospect from Sacramento, Calif., Martínez (15-0, 11 KOs) has trained for this fight in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 23-year-old earned a career-best victory in his last outing, defeating veteran contender Claudio Marrero by unanimous decision in October on SHOWTIME. Previously, Martínez added three stoppage victories to his record in 2019 to run up a seven-fight knockout streak heading into the Marrero fight.
“I’ve felt great in camp and have already been preparing hard for this opponent,” said Martinez. “My last fight was an incredible experience. The biggest thing it taught me is just because you’re winning, don’t fall asleep at the wheel. That’s the same mentality I’m taking into this fight. I proved in my last fight that I can box and can hang with the best in the sport. This is a side many haven’t seen because I’ve been decapitating my previous opponents. The world is going to see how much versatility I carry in my skill set. May 15 is another day in the office, and it’s time to work!”
The Tijuana, Mexico native Burgos (34-4-2, 21 KOs) has faced an impressive resume of top fighters throughout his extensive career, dropping world title bouts to Mikey Garcia and Hozumi Hasegawa, in addition to a draw in a 130-pound title tilt against Roman Martinez. The 33-year-old ended up on the short end of decisions in challenges of unbeaten champion Devin Haney in 2018 and undefeated Hector Tanajara in January 2020. Most recently, he won a unanimous decision over Juan Ramon Bernal in March 2020.
“This is another opportunity for me to show that I have a lot left to give in the ring,” says Burgos. “Martínez doesn’t have a strong chin, as everyone saw when he got dropped twice by Claudio Marrero in his last fight. I’ve been training hard and waiting for an opportunity like this. Fans can expect an explosive performance on May 15.”