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Brandon Figueroa and John Riel Casimero both promising knockouts in title defences

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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WBA ‘regular’ super bantamweight titleholder Brandon ‘The Heartbreaker’ Figueroa 20-0-1 (15) and WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero 29-4 (20) are both promising knockouts when they appear in separate undercard bouts on the Charlo twins doubleheader at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday night.

Figueroa will take on Damien ‘Sugar’ Vazquez 15-1-1 (8) while Casimero will defend against Duke Micah 24-0 (19).

Texan Figueroa, 23, is coming off a 12-round split draw against Julio Ceja in Las Vegas last November. In that fight, Ceja missed weight by four-and-a-half pounds.

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“I’m excited to be back to doing what I do best, and that’s getting in the ring and giving the fans a great show,” Figueroa said.

“It’s been a unique circumstance training for this fight during the pandemic, but we made the most of it. I’m very fortunate that I have access to a private gym, so I was able to stay consistent with my training.

“Sparring was a little tricky, but I could venture out after a while and get some good sessions in. Even though this is the longest I’ve gone without a fight, I never took much time off.

“Vazquez is a good, formidable opponent, but I don’t think he’ll be able to handle the pressure that I’m going to bring.

“I’m an action fighter, but I can do it all. I can bang, but I can also box – and my dad wants me to box even more and tag him on the outside. And I don’t think he’ll be able to handle my body shots.

“I feel like this fight won’t last too long, because I had such a good training camp. And I keep getting better and stronger, and I’m ready to showcase that Saturday night.”

Southpaw Vazquez, 23, says he is ready for war.

“If he says it won’t go past six rounds, then he’s going to have to work hard. I’m going to make sure it’ an all-out war. He’s going to have to earn everything,” Vazquez said.

“I’m ready to go. This is the most excited I’ve ever been about a fight. He has two hands, and his heart beats like mine. There’s nothing to be scared about in facing my opponent.

“No disrespect to the Charlos, but I want to be a fight of the night and steal the show. May the best man win. I’m confident that it will be me. Plain and simple.”

Casimero, a three-weight world champion, will be making the first defence of the WBO 118-pound belt he won against Zolani Tete by third-round knockout last November. He is looking to extend his knockout run to six.

“This is my first time on Showtime, so I want to give everyone watching an impressive performance. I’ll go for the knockout,” Casimero said.

“This is an ample opportunity to show the world who I am. I promise I will do my best this fight. I am incredibly ready to give it my all.

“My opponent is a mature boxer with good experience. But I’m going to be too strong for him. I believe I’m the best at 118-pounds.”

The 29-year-old Micah of Accra, Ghana, will be having his fifth straight fight in the US.

“I’m so grateful for this moment. This is a massive night for me. It all comes down to this, and we are coming to win,” Micah said.

“I have to stick to my game plan. I expect my opponent to box and move. I’ve prepared for a couple of attacks that I think he will use. I’ve never been more ready for a fight than I am for this one.

“Casimero is a good boxer, but I’m a different fighter than I’ve been in the past. I’ve improved my game so much, working with Andre Rozier. The fans will see it on Saturday night, and they will become instant fans of my electrifying style.”

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