After Omar Figueroa Jr. beat Ricky Burns on Saturday in Hidalgo, Texas, the celebration was on. Surrounded by about 25 friends and family members, Figueroa let off a sly smile from underneath a baseball cap while he tucked into the spread.
It was the same smile, minus the mouthguard, that he flashed in the ring every time he broke from getting mauled in the clench. Or took a big shot from Burns. It had to be unnerving for Burns standing across from an opponent who relished the punishment.
"It was just awesome," Figueroa said. "I love fighting. Being in there, I don't know, it takes me back the [Marco Antonio] Barrera-[Erik] Morales fights, and those are the kind of fights I loved watching when I was younger. It brings back memories."
The most important thing for Figueroa coming out of the fight was that his hands, which have been a source of problems for him in the past, were fine. It means he'll be able to come back for a quicker turnaround than the nine months that separated this bout and his previous tilt, against Daniel Estrada last August.
His next fight, he says, will also be at 140 pounds. His first fight in the division Saturday signals a permanent move from the 135-pound ranks.
"I felt ridiculously strong. I didn't think my hands would hold up. I was holding back. I was trying to win the fight on points," he said. "We start therapy on them right away. A lot of ice and heat and massages. I just hope that one day they stop bothering me and I can fight up to my potential."
Kameda may not get a rematch after losing to McDonnell
It took a second for Jamie McDonnell's camp to react after the judges' verdict had been rendered Saturday. When they heard that all three 114-113 cards went to McDonnell, everyone looked at each other, startled, before jumping in celebration. For previously unbeaten Tomoki Kameda, the disappointment was palpable.
"I think I won the fight," he said. "I did enough to win. He did a lot to win the last rounds, but I did more over the fight. I don't agree with the judges’ decision, but I respect it."
Kameda also said that he wants a rematch, but that may not be possible. McDonnell said he's going to move up from 118 pounds to "catch big fights before they're gone."
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