Something we cherish in the wonderful sport of boxing is its surprises. It is a refreshing thing to see new faces, the fresh, up-and-coming talent in the sport. Prospect Watch breaks down promising young fighters who are on the come up in the sport. Meet a promising super welterweight in this week's feature.
Prospect Watch: Welterweight Justin Figueroa
Prospect Watch features 24-year-old super welterweight Justin Figueroa of Atlantic City, New Jersey (7-0, 6 KOs). Figueroa is described by Los Angeles-based broadcaster Beto Duran as charismatic. Figueroa fits this description and much more.
Figueroa was an aspiring football player in his younger years. He also boxed, but football was the main focus in his youth. Figueroa eventually returned to boxing to lose weight. His love for the sport took over, and he started taking the sport seriously.
Success In First Fight Outside New Jersey
Figueroa’s last fight on December 14, 2023, was his first pro bout outside of his hometown of Atlantic City. Figueroa showcased his skills in Indio, California at the popular Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino. He faced Jerome Clayton of Metairie, Louisiana (3-3-1, 3 KOs) in a scheduled four-round fight.
As ring announcer Joe Martinez introduced Figueroa, the camera found him looking at his right wrist, repeatedly saying ‘It’s my time.' His trunks were also attention-getting, decked out with aces from all four card suits.
Figueroa is a hard hitter, demonstrated by his high knockout rate. Figueroa's most dangerous tool is the body shot. He throws straight, stiff jabs or hooks to the body, then swings with a hard right up top and vice versa, debilitating his opponents and, at times, knocking them down.
Figueroa used this approach to knock Clayton down twice in round two. He lept in with a strong, swinging right hand, followed by a left hook. The third round brought two more knockdowns, the first with a powerful straight right hand landing flush on Clayton’s chin.
The crowd was entertained with the fourth and last knockdown, finishing off Clayton with two thudding hooks to the body for the win.
When referee Ray Corona stopped the fight, Figueroa celebrated his victory by doing the worm in the ring, catching some serious air.
Figueroa: Preparation Meets Opportunity
Asked about his plans for 2024, Figueroa told NY Fights, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I am looking to seize more opportunities by training hard, staying dedicated, and having the will to learn and get better every day.
“I hope to be lucky enough in 2024 to accomplish my goal to become a hot prospect in the fight game!” added Figueroa. We think he's nearly there.
Figueroa has potential stardom. He has given outstanding performances early in his career. Justin ‘Time’ Figueroa definitely looks to be “Just-In-Time” to bring a new face to boxing, a new potential star for the super welterweight division, and a potential main event fighter in the Golden Boy Promotions stable.
Figueroa is managed by the new promotional firm, Fighters First Management. Manager Adrian Clark flew to California to support his prospect in person, showing confidence in Figueroa's future.