Brandon Figueroa doesn’t want to be just another pretty face in boxing

The undefeated 122-pound prospect—who is the younger brother of former world champion Omar Figueroa Jr.—looks to continue his climb towards a belt of his own this Saturday night on the undercard of the Showtime-televised Mikey Garcia-Sergey Lipinets title bout.

Figueroa vs Chirino FULL FIGHT: February 21, 2017 - PBC on FS1

“The Heartbreaker.”  That’s what a group of pre-teen girls used to call 7-year-old Brandon Figueroa. It happened the first time he put on a pair of gloves to box in an exhibition in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico—a town just across the border from his hometown of Weslaco, Texas.

His older brother, Omar Jr., who was 14 at the time, was competing in the same tournament.

“My Dad says I was fighting another kid to give the fans a show. These older girls said, ‘Man, that kid is handsome. He’s a heartbreaker,’” said the younger Figueroa.

“From then on, whenever we went there, this group of girls in the bleachers would go, ‘Oh my God, the heartbreaker’s here.’ I’ve been the ‘Heartbreaker’ since then. The name has stuck.”

The 122-pound Figueroa (14-0, 9 KOs) returns to the ring this Saturday against Mexico’s Giovanni Delgado (16-6, 9 KOs) on the undercard of the Showtime-televised (10:15 pm ET & PT) Mikey Garcia and Sergey Lipinets 140-pound title fight at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas.

“I’m happy to be on such a big card. San Antonio’s like my second home,” said Figueroa, who is 5-0 with four knockouts in San Antonio.

“I’m getting a lot of exposure with Mikey Garcia getting all of that world class attention. It’s the kind of step-up I need. Little by little I’m becoming well-known, not only in the United States, but by people from around the world.”

With matinee idol looks, Figueroa’s drive has always been to prove that he’s not just another pretty face in boxing. It’s not that difficult because the Figueroa family embraces the traditional Mexican brawling style of close quarters, body-battering attack.

“I teach Brandon to go to war, invest in the body,” said Omar Figueroa Sr., who has trained both his sons. “To make opponents drop their hands, then go to the head.”

I’m getting a lot of exposure with Mikey Garcia getting all of that world class attention. It’s the kind of step-up I need. Little by little I’m becoming well-known, not only in the United States, but by people from around the world. Undefeated junior featherweight prospect Brandon Figueroa

Omar Sr. initially thought Brandon was  “too skinny and wimpy“ to box.

“Joshua Franco, from San Antonio used to come and spar with Brandon when he was 16,” said Omar Sr. “One time, he brought his Mom, who was like, ‘Oh my God, he looks like a Ken doll who should be doing soap operas or commercials—not boxing.”

But over the next three years, Brandon proved to everyone that there was more to him than good looks.

Omar Sr.’s opinion has changed concerning the now 21-year-old Figueroa. He believes his son can one day challenge 126-pound champions Gary Russell Jr., Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares or Lee Selby “by the time he’s at 22 fights or 23 years old.”

Brandon has watched his older brother, Omar, Jr., win a world championship at 135 pounds and draws inspiration from him.

Brandon said he thinks Delgado might overlook him. He said that was the case in his fight against Victor Proa in October. It didn’t matter, because Figueroa knocked Proa out with a body shot in the fourth round.

Omar Jr. screamed instructions from ringside for the fight—Brandon’s first as the main event—in Mercedes, Texas, 12-minutes from their native Weslaco.

“Opponents smile at me like I’m this lanky, skinny kid with a pretty face who can’t fight, but once I land that first punch, I completely disrupt their mentality like I did Proa,” Figueroa said.

For a closer look at Brandon Figueroa, check out his fighter page.

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