Tug Nyambayar must get past Oscar Escandon to see future clearly

But Colombian veteran Escandon has other plans for their Saturday night PBC on FS1 co-feature, setting his sights on a big victory that could set him up for another 126-pound title shot.

Escandon vs Nyambayar

Veteran Oscar Escandon, left, and unbeaten Tugstsogt Nyambayar face off in a featherweight battle tomorrow night on PBC on FS1. (Derick Hingles/Premier Boxing Champions)

There won’t be a title on the line when Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Oscar Escandon battle in Biloxi, Mississippi this Saturday night in an FS1-televised co-feature (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). However, something just as important is at stake for each man: his foreseeable boxing future.

The winner will position himself as a significant featherweight contender. The loser goes into rebuilding mode. Neither Nyambayar (9-0-0, 8 knockouts) nor Escandon (25-3-0, 17 KOs) envisions himself as being in the latter position when the bout concludes.

Aside from proclaiming victory, possessing above average punching power and boxing skills these talented fighters couldn’t be more different. Nyambayar is the fast-rising young star, who refuses to waste any time proving that he is the future of boxing. Escandon is a veteran eager to get another 126-pound title shot.

For Escandon, who turns 34 in July, there is a greater sense of urgency. During his most recent outing he was stopped in the seventh round by defending WBC titleholder Gary Russell Jr. last May.

It’s a loss that remains difficult for Escandon to accept. Not that he dismisses Russell’s skills in the ring or that the champ controlled the action when they fought. But Escandon is quick to point out that was not at his physical best that night.

“When I fought Gary Russell Jr., I only had two weeks to prepare and I hurt my back in camp,” Escandon said. “But I needed the money at the time, so I took the fight.”

Escandon vows he’ll be in tiptop shape Saturday night. But if he is to have a shot at slowing down Nyambayar, he’d better be at his physical peak.

“I feel great this time out,” Escandon said. “I’m injury-free for this fight and had a complete, productive camp. I’m fully ready.

“I’m fighting a good young fighter, who has an extensive amateur background; he fought in the [2012] Olympics [winning a silver medal] but I have a lot of pro experience. I’m ready for him; I will win, then I can focus on another big fight, another title shot against Gary Russell or the Abner Mares-Leo Santa Cruz winner.”

Coming out victorious against Nyambayar won’t be easy. Escandon will relinquish age and height. Nyambayar turns 26 in June and stands 5-foot-8; Escandon is 5-1½.

There is nothing on fight night that Escandon can do to offset the difference in age, but he expects to minimize the variance in height.

“His height doesn’t matter,” Escandon said. “I’ve fought a lot of top fighters who were taller than me. I will find a way to get inside, I always do.”

I’m fighting a good young fighter, who has an extensive amateur background. I’m ready for him; I will win, then I can focus on another big fight, another title shot against Gary Russell or the Abner Mares-Leo Santa Cruz winner. Former featherweight title challenger Oscar Escandon

Nyambayar will not say much about his fight plan, but he isn’t shy when it comes to discussing his height edge and what a win likely does for his not-too-distant future.

“After I come out victorious Saturday night, I’m sure I will move up in the rankings; that’s what I’m looking for,” Nyambayar said. “I can’t say how I’m going to win, but I will take advantage of my edge in height.”

With only nine pro fights under his belt and facing an established contender like Escandon, some pundits could argue that Nyambayar is biting off too much too soon. Nyambayar, however, will counter that anyone who questions the timing of this fight in his career couldn’t be more wrong.

Besides, he has both a strong belief in his skills and the professionals involved his overseeing his career.

“Whoever [PBC] offers me, I’ll take the fight,” Nyambayar said. “Oscar is a good fighter and a former title challenger. I want to fight good, experienced fighters, so I took this fight. It’s the right fight for me at this time.

“After this fight, I will be ready for a title shot at [super bantamweight] or [featherweight]. I’m focused on 122 and 126, whichever comes first.”

However, before talk of strapping a championship belt around his waist can be taken seriously, there’s the matter of putting Escandon in his rearview mirror. In order to accomplish this Nyambayar refuses to look beyond Saturday night.

“I respect Oscar,” Nyambayar said. “I’m a fighter, so I respect all fighters. Oscar is very tough. But I’m ready for this fight.

“I’ll try my best to put on a good show. If the knockout comes, I’ll take it. More important, however, I just want to win.”

For a closer look at Escandon vs Nyambayar, check out our fight page.

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