Figueroa plans to close out 2007 in grand style

VERO BEACH, Florida (November 9, 2007) – NABF light welterweight champion Frankie “El Gato” Figueroa makes his first title defense Friday night (November 16) against fellow southpaw Noel Rodriguez at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida. Figueroa-Rodriguez will be the 12-round main event airing live on Telemundo..

The Spanish Harlem-born, Bronx-raised Figueroa (17-2, 13 KOs), now fighting out of Miami, is rated No. 12 by the World Boxing Council and No. 14 by the International Boxing Federation. He will have famed trainer and former 2-time world champion James “Buddy” McGirt in his corner for the first time.

“I’m going to close out the year with a bang,” Figueroa said. “This will be my first national exposure. I’m glad to be fighting on Telemundo because I’m Spanish. Next year has got to be my year. I hope to move up higher in the ratings after this fight and get a world title fight in 2008. I’m going to let ‘The Cat (El Gato)’ out of the bag. I know Rodriguez is a tough guy who is going to come hard to fight and try to take my title belt. I’m bringing my A game, though, and it’s going to be an explosive fight.”

By the time the fight happens, U.S. Army veteran Figueroa will have been at his Vero Beach training camp with McGirt for 2 ˝ months, primarily because Frankie’s fight originally was scheduled to be held in October. “There wasn’t a television fight available until November so we waited,” Figueroa explained. “I’m still flabbergasted and motivated to have Buddy, a 2-time world champion, in my corner. I want to make him happy and proud. Buddy doesn’t change a world-class fighter; he has me doing a lot more jabbing, something I only really did for exercise, and circling left as I throw punches. I never threw punches that way before.”

McGirt, who has trained numerous world champions, enjoys working with Figueroa. “He’s been doing real good,” Buddy noted. “He’s coming along great. Frankie’s a great kid who listens well and is never a problem.
Rodriguez, fighting out of Texas, is riding an eight-fight win streak, dating back two full years. His most notable victory to date was a win by unanimous eight-round decision against 18-5 Robert Frankel this past April in New Mexico.

“The main reason we took this fight was the need to get Frankie television exposure and fighting Rodriguez in the main event on Telemundo is the way to go,” Figueroa’s manager Sal LoNano noted. “We’re happy that the people at HBO and Showtime will have an opportunity to see Frankie’s talents. Next year, he’ll have a shot at a world title. He’s ready now with a new team that includes the best trainer in boxing, Buddy McGirt. We believe an impressive win against Rodriguez will set-up Frankie for a world title fight in 2008.

“Gato” also is the reigning WBC International Mundo Hispano welterweight and New York State light welterweight title-holder.

For more information about “Gato” Figueroa visit his web site at

Article posted on 09.11.2007

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