A 12-round super lightweight showdown between four-division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner and action-packed former world champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa will be the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions event that will be broadcast live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, August 20 from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
At 9 o’clock, the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® broadcast gets underway. ET/6 p.m. Top 140-pound boxers Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov will face the battle in the co-main event for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Championship. In addition, Roger Gutierrez, the WBA Super Featherweight World Champion, defends his title against unbeaten Hector Garcia in the telecast’s opening bout.
The live event tickets are currently available for purchase at Ticketmaster.com.
The dazzling, technical talents of Broner contrast with Figueroa’s brutal, volume approach, creating an intriguing contrast in the fighting styles of the two previous champions. Both fighters will attempt to defeat one another in order to get back into the championship race. Throughout their careers, both have experienced amazing highs and produced memorable experiences.
One of the most well-known and flamboyant figures in the sport, Cincinnati’s Broner (34 to 4 to 1, 24 KOs), soon gained notoriety by fusing the best boxing skills with a brazen, outspoken demeanor. By the time he was 26 years old, he had won the world titles at 130, 135, 140, and 147 pounds, making him one of only eight current boxers to do so. Several multi-division world champions, including Mikey Garcia, Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana, Manny Pacquiao, and Jessie Vargas, have faced Broner. He most recently defeated Jovanie Santiago by unanimous decision in February 2021, and he is now back in the super lightweight division where, in 2015, he crushed Khabib Allakhverdiev to capture the 140-pound championship.
“I’m going in there to try to stop Figueroa,” said Broner. “I’m going to take the fight to him and go ahead and get him out of there. What I expect from him is the same gruesome Figueroa that we always see. He’ll try to make it a rough fight. Every fighter is different, but I don’t think he’ll be hard to hit. So, I’ll see y’all on August 20.’’
The 32-year-old Figueroa (28 to 2 to 1, 19 KOs) and his younger brother Brandon, a former super bantamweight world champion, come from a battling family. In a 2013 “Fight of the Year,” Figueroa defeated Nihito Arakawa by unanimous decision to win the WBC Lightweight World Championship. He then successfully defended the championship twice before switching to super lightweight in 2015. Figueroa has also competed at welterweight, defeating Robert Guerrero, John Molina Jr., and Antonio DeMarco in thrilling contests. After consecutive losses to Yordenis Ugas and Abel Ramos, he will drop back to super lightweight on August 20.
“I’m excited to move on to the next phase of my life and career, especially now that my mental health is at the forefront of everything I do,” said Figueroa. “Having a clear mind has been the best thing to happen to me. Now I’m able to focus 100% on my boxing career and I can’t wait to be back in the ring on August 20.”
Puello (20-0, 10 KOs), a native of San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, currently competes out of Las Vegas under the direction of famous trainer Ismael Salas. In July 2019, the 27-year-old shot up the rankings after defeating Jonathan Alonso by unanimous decision and taking home an interim title. In Veshawn Owens’ hometown, Puello defeated Owens by unanimous decision in December 2021, making his American debut successful.
“I’m very committed to winning this fight for my team and my country,” said Puello. “I am more than prepared to make the most of this opportunity. My only focus is on earning this victory, becoming world champion, and taking on all the challenges that come my way after that.”
Born in Uzbekistan and now fighting out of Los Angeles, Akhmedov (9 to 1, 8 KOs) represented Turkey at the 2016 Olympic games. The 31-year-old turned pro in 2017 and won his first seven pro fights, with six coming by knockout. His lone blemish came in an action-packed title fight against Mario Barrios in September 2019, where he was able to survive two knockdowns to make it a close fight, before eventually losing by decision. Akhmedov has rebounded to win back-to-back fights, including a stoppage of the typically durable former world champion Argenis Mendez in June 2021.
“I’m excited that I’m finally getting my shot at the world title again,” said Akhmedov. “I have worked very hard to reach my goal of becoming [a] world champion. This time, I’m going to do everything possible to make sure that I take full advantage of this opportunity.”
The 27-year-old Gutierrez (26 to 3 to 1, 20 KOs) captured his world title with a unanimous decision victory over Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado in January 2021, in a fight that saw him drop his opponent three times. Gutierrez followed up that performance by defending his world championship and defeating Alvarado a second time in August 2021, again earning a unanimous decision. Fighting out of his native Maracaibo, Venezuela, Gutierrez is unbeaten in his last seven outings, including four knockouts.
“I am excited to return to the ring and defend my title for the second time,” said Gutierrez. “This is going to be a difficult fight, but I am confident in my abilities and my preparation, and I know I will be victorious. I am ready to show the world again that I am the best in this division.”
Tall and rangy with good power in his left hand and a dedicated body attack, the 30-year-old Garcia (15 to 0, 10 KOs) scored one of the biggest upsets of the year in February, when he stepped in as a late replacement for Gutierrez to defeat then-unbeaten Chris Colbert on SHOWTIME in Las Vegas. The 5 to 9 Garcia represented his native San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, in the 2016 Olympics before turning pro in December that year. Along with his countryman Puello, Garcia is also trained by the highly respected Ismael Salas in Las Vegas.
“This is a very important fight for me because I have worked for so long to win a world title,” said Garcia. “This fight is for all of the people in the Dominican Republic. I can’t wait to display my skills for them once again on SHOWTIME. It’s also a very special night because [I] and my friend Alberto Puello will both be fighting for world titles; the first time two Dominicans will do so on the same night. We grew up together and had the same amateur coaches and now we have a chance to make history together.”