How do you stop a hard-charging, come-forward fighter? Ricky Burns thought the answer was to tie him up.
Neither solid shots nor a relentless clinch got the job done against Omar Figueroa Jr. (25-0-1, 18 KOs) Saturday afternoon in Hidalgo, Texas. Figueroa blasted his way out of the latter and just waded through the former.
Burns (37-5-1, 11 KOs) lost a point in the eighth when referee Laurence Cole decided he’d seen enough. The deterrent didn’t take. Cole took another point in the 11th. It was enough to create a wide margin for Figueroa who won 116-110 on two cards and 117-109 on the third.
It might not have been an effective strategy regardless.
“I feel like on the inside that’s where I’m a lot better fighter,” Figueroa said. “I’ve been fighting on the inside my whole life. When was younger I would fight guys who were bigger because I was more experienced so I had to fight a guy in Mexico who was heavier than me so it would be even. So I got used to fighting on the inside.”
The trench warfare started from the get-go, with Figueroa deploying a flurry of uppercuts to neutralize Burns’ tactics. The taller Burns, in turn, start punching downhill, attacking the back of Figueroa’s head.
But between the uppercuts and a patient body attack, Figueroa stayed well ahead on all three scorecards. Both fighters came out firing in the 12th, but Burns notched his best shot in the previous round, which made Figueroa a bit wary in the final frame.
“I wish I could have done more, but he got me with a good body shot there at the end [of the 11th],” Figueroa said. “I kind of had to hold back. He got the last bit of gas out of me. He wasn’t hurting me; I was just trying not to get hit more.”
For the full recap, including photos and videos, visit our Figueroa Jr. vs Burns fight page.
Kameda suffers first loss to determined McDonnell
Tomoki Kameda (31-1, 19 KOs) came out with blazing speed that caught Jamie McDonnell (26-2-1, 12 KOs) unaware, but the Englishman ultimately made the adjustments he needed to earn a narrow unanimous decision over Kameda, 114-113 on all three cards.
That came despite Kameda notching a knockdown in the third round with a vicious right that sent McDonnell to the canvas for the first time in his career.
Despite a taut, back-and-forth contest that saw Kameda take command through the first half of the fight, he couldn’t solve McDonnell in the back half as he worked crisp jabs and solid uppercuts inside that Kameda had no answer for.
Catch all the highlights of Kameda vs McDonnell at our fight page.
Trout takes care of business against Galarza
Austin Trout (28-2, 16 KOs) answered the bell throwing tentative jabs at Luis Galarza (20-4, 14 KOs). It only lasted seconds, and that was the last time Trout was tentative Saturday.
Trout overwhelmed Galarza with a punishing attack that wobbled his foe as early as the second, courtesy of a left uppercut that left Galaraza no choice but to hang onto the ropes for dear life.
Trout again connected on a big uppercut and a straight right, and kept Galarza cornered by outmaneuvering him. Trout dropped his man again in the fifth, but Galarza got off the canvas on the count of nine.
In the sixth, Trout fired a huge right that caught Galarza on the shoulder, and sent him pinballing from one set of ropes across to the other, but still Galarza managed to make it to his corner at the break. Referee Mark Calo-Oy had seen enough, and waved off Galarza for a seventh-round stoppage.
“When he started pinballing I wasn’t going to fall for that,” Trout said. “I thought he was trying to bait me into something. I didn’t hit him with anything that should have made him do that. When I went for the kill and I thought he was done, he’d come back with four or five shots.
“I had to take a step back and say OK, maybe he’s got something left. Let’s go back to touching the body and empty that tank. It ended up paying off.”