NABF light welterweight champion Frankie “El Gato” Figueroa feels every fight is like a chess match and he plans to put former two-time world champion Randall Bailey into a checkmate position Friday night on ESPN2 during their scheduled 12-round IBF title eliminator in Memphis.
The winner between IBF No. 3 rated Bailey (38-6, 34 KOs) and No. 6 ranked Figueroa (20-2, 13 KOs) will earn a title shot against IBF champion Juan Urango.
Figueroa, riding a 12-fight win streak dating back to 2004, broke camp today in southern Florida and tomorrow he heads to Memphis. “Bailey’s a big banger who uses a single punch – right hand – to stop most of his opponents,” Figueroa said. “I’m not worried about what he’s bringing, more about what adjustments will be made during the fight. The key is figuring out your opponent and making the key adjustments to win. I’m very confident. I love to fight and this is what I do – fight! Figuring out a fighter and making adjustments in the mix is like playing chess. Both fighters come into the fight with a game plan but adjustments have to be made during the fight. I have to put him into a checkmate position to win the fight and reach my goal of winning a world title. I’m not looking past him, but I have one eye on Urango because that’s what drives me. It’s part of me, part of my goal, to be world champion. I’ve overcome obstacles to reach this point and I need to win this fight to have a shot at winning a world title.”
Also rated No. 11 by the WBC and No. 14 by the WBA, the 30-year-old Puerto Rican-American, born in Spanish Harlem and fighting out of the Bronx, is now handled by Roy
Jones, Jr.’s Square Ring Promotions.
“I’m in the best shape of my career,” Figueroa added. “This training camp has been the best due to my manager, Sal LoNano, sending me to Boston for training at Mike Boyle’s for strength and conditioning. It continued in Florida with some great work with my trainer, Eggie Martinez, and valuable sparring sessions.”