INDIO, Calif. – All four fighters participating in Friday’s ShoBox: The New Generation doubleheader (11:00 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) weighed in at the Lit Lounge at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. on Thursday, just steps away from where two prospects will step into the ring to face the toughest tests of their young careers. Photos by Tom Casino.
Undefeated lightweight prospect Omar Figueroa Jr. (14-0-1, 11 KO’s), of Weslaco, Texas, was over the division-limit 135 pounds – he weighed 136.2 pounds and forfeited his WBO Intercontinental Youth title on the scale. His 10-round main event fight will go on as scheduled against Morelos, Mexico’s Ramon “Nino De Oro” Ayala (23-2-1, 11 KO’s), who tipped the scale at 135 pounds.
Figueroa, who has ended eight of his fights in knockout wins in two rounds or less, is fresh off of handing previously unbeaten prospect Michael Perez his first loss on Jan. 6 on ShoBox, while Ayala has won five in a row, including three by knockout.
The fighters in Friday’s co-feature, local favorite Randy Caballero (13-0, 7 KO’s), of Coachella, Calif., and Tecate, Mexico’s Jose Luis “Tapitas” Araiza (29-5-1, 20 KO’s), both weighed in at 117.8 pounds. Caballero will make his ShoBox debut against the more experienced Araiza in a 10-round bantamweight bout.
Caballero has won his last seven consecutive bouts – and eight overall – at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, while the hard-hitting Araiza has registered 11 of his 20 knockouts in three rounds or less.
The ShoBox doubleheader is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona, DeWalt Tools and AT&T. Tickets, priced at $25, $35 and $45, are available for purchase at the Fantasy Springs Box Office, by calling (800) 827-2946 or online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com. Doors at Fantasy Springs will open at 6:00 p.m. PT on fight night and the first bell rings at 6:30 p.m. PT.
What the fighters had to say on Thursday:
“Honestly, I feel bad for my opponent. I'm going to put every negative together from my camp and take it out on him, and there were a lot of negatives. I had to sacrifice. I sacrificed food, water, seeing my family - all because of my opponent. People don't realize that 50 percent of boxing is just getting to the ring. I'm hungry. I really hope to knock him out.
“In my last fight, I proved that I can do it. I am not going to lose. Whether people believe in me or not, I have my team - it's all I need.
“I knew I wasn't going to make weight. I hurt my hand in camp and got sick twice and that took time away from working out and losing the weight.”
“I'm not a talker. I do my talking inside the ring. All I can say is that I prepared hard. I hope Omar brings his best because I know I will.”
“I don't see added pressure because I'm on TV. I can't walk in the ring and say, 'Oh my gosh, I'm on SHOWTIME.' I have to do what brought me here, but I'll put on a show like I always do.
“All I need to know about my opponent is that he is trying to beat me. He's a veteran so he's dangerous. I'm ready for a tough fight.
“When I'm ready to challenge for a title, I'll take on whoever is on top at whatever weight I'm at.”
“I prepared well for this fight, believe me. I think of fighting in someone's backyard as a challenge. I'll use my experience in the ring and it will definitely be an advantage.
“I've been waiting for an opportunity like tomorrow. To beat Caballero would me everything to me.