Brandon Figueroa: ‘I’m not in this to look pretty’

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Brandon Figueroa’s nickname is “Heartbreaker,” a nod to his good looks. His fighting style? Not so attractive.

The 24-year-old Texan is a grinder who relies as much on grit as guile. And that approach to combat has served him well; he knocked out the favored Luis Nery with a body shot in seven rounds to win the WBC 122-pound title his past May.

Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) could face a bigger challenge on Nov. 27 in Las Vegas, where he faces talented WBO champ Stephen Fulton in a title-unification bout on Showtime.

“I don’t fight pretty,” Figueroa told Boxing Junkie. “I’m not in this to look pretty; I’m in this to fight, to rough up opponents and make sure to give the fans a show. I don’t know where people get this mentality that you have to look pretty for TV and fans.

“I’m just out there to fight. That’s the style I’m imbedded with. And it’s worked well so far.”

Will it work on Nov. 27?

Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) is a formidable boxer with unusual speed and athleticism, the main reasons he’s considered a rising star. And if there was any doubt about his fighting spirit, he beat slugger Angelo Leo at his own game to win his title in January.

Figueroa knows what he’s up against, which is one reason he agreed to fight Fulton.

“(That’s) the only way to get better,” he said. “From the start of my career I told my dad that I want to fight the best. I’ve never said ‘no’ to any opponent. … This fight is no different. It’s time for me to fight at the world class level. I’m ready to take that step.

“I’m young, 24. This is the only way for me to find out who I really am and my potential. Not only that, but to get better and go the next level.”

Don’t expect Figueroa to follow the lead of Canelo Alvarez if he wins even though he would be only one step from becoming undisputed junior featherweight champion, as Murodjon Akhmadaliev holds the IBF and WBA belts.

Figueroa said his meeting with Fulton will almost certainly be his last fight at 122 pounds because he has grown out of the division.

“I feel like my body is growing,” said Figueroa, who is tall for the division, 5-foot-8. “… Me and my team plan to move up to 126 and maybe go for a world title there. If, when I beat Fulton, there’s nothing more I can do at 122.

“It has been just a matter of time before I moved up to 126 and really see what my body can do. I feel 122 has taken a lot of my power. At 126, I’ll be a more complete fighter.”

Of course, he has one last bit of business at 122. And he wants to go out in style – his style.

Said Figueroa: “I want to give fans a show.”