Omar Figueroa Jr.’s swollen face showed the wear after his 12-round slugfest with Antonio DeMarco in San Antonio on Saturday night. Although he won a unanimous decision to remain unbeaten, he took more punishment that he anticipated.
Figueroa had to hold off a second-half charge by DeMarco to secure the win, but the Texas native dominated the fight early by employing a switch-hitting strategy that resulted in high-volume punishment for his opponent.
Figueroa found The Moment just seconds into the first round, when he switched from an orthodox to southpaw stance. It paid off immediately, as Figueroa split the Mexican southpaw’s guard with consecutive right-handed jabs, which forced DeMarco against the ropes for the first of many times in the bout.
“I made the decision before the fight to return to old faithful, which is going to the inside. He’s a lanky southpaw with a good straight left, so I knew I could fight as a left-hander and neutralize that,” Figueroa said. “I know how tough, stubborn and bothersome I can be fighting that way and that he would have trouble getting me off him. Being smothered, he didn’t know what to do. Then he thought just backing up to the ropes was his best recourse, believing that would be his haven. I kept him busy down the stretch."
Fighting one day before his 26th birthday, Omar Figueroa Jr. (26-0-1, 18 KOs) applied constant pressure on Antonio DeMarco (31-6-1, 23 KOs) from the get-go in the meeting of former 135-pound champions. Two jabs glanced off DeMarco’s face, driving the 29-year-old Mexican to the opposite side of the ring and into his own corner.
Figueroa turned southpaw yet again seconds later. This time, he landed three jabs, a left uppercut and two more jabs, all to the face. He followed that with a left hook to the body against a doubled-over DeMarco, who then endured four hard right hands to the left side of his body and two left hooks to the other side.
“Figueroa’s going to go back and forth between orthodox and southpaw, as well,” NBC ringside analyst B.J. Flores said. “He’ll try to feel out DeMarco to see which one is more effective for him.”
Figueroa offered more of the same as he dominated the first six rounds, continuing to hammer DeMarco against the ropes at every opportunity.
“The thing that’s very difficult about Figueroa is that he doesn’t give you a chance to think or to digest anything,” Flores said. “He’s on you and he’s smothering you and he’s always hitting you with punches from the correct angles.”
DeMarco effectively battled back starting in the seventh round, when he landed several hand-swiveling uppercuts, but it was too little, too late as Figueroa’s early effectiveness earned him winning scores of 116-112 and 115-113 twice on the judges’ scorecards.
In the winning effort, Figueroa landed 414 of his 1,092 total punches, while DeMarco connected on 225 of his 587 punches.
“DeMarco's power caught me off guard but never hurt or wobbled me due to my constant movement,” Figueroa said. “Every time he caught me with a punch, I would come back with my own punch. I just kept throwing punches, knowing the more you throw, the more you can land.”
For complete coverage of Figueroa vs DeMarco, visit our fight page.