Brandon Figueroa outpoints Mark Magsayo, claims secondary 126-pound belt.

ONTARIO – Brandon Figueroa overcame a slow start to earn a shot at the WBC featherweight crown.

An aggressive Figueroa defeated former titlist Mark Magsayo by unanimous decision in their 12-round main event from Toyota Arena. Figueroa broke down Magsayo over the stretch to win via scores of 117-109, 117-109, and 118-108. had it closer at 115-113, but nonetheless, it was a clear win for Figueroa.

Referee Thomas Taylor penalized Magsayo a point apiece for hitting and holding in rounds eight and 11. The deductions did not factor into the decision, however, because Figueroa had already built a sizeable lead.

"Man, I just went out there and wanted it and took the fight right to him,” Figueroa said. “I wanted this fight so bad. He came back a little, but once I hit him with a body shot it affected him and I put pressure, pressure, pressure on him.”

Figueroa (24-1-1, 18 KOs), a former unified junior featherweight titleholder, won the WBC interim featherweight title by beating Magsayo (24-2, 16 KOs). The Weslaco, Texas native is expected to fight WBC 126-pound champion Rey Vargas (36-1, 22 KOs) next. The latter is coming off his first loss after unsuccessfully challenging newly-crowned junior lightweight world champion O'Shaquie Foster. In the bout prior, Vargas beat Magsayo by split decision last July to take the WBC belt from Magsayo.

The Philippines’ Magsayo struggled to make weight on Friday. He failed to make the 126-pound limit on the first attempt and took nearly the full two hours allocated to him by the California State Athletic Commission to make the cut.

After a slow opening frame, Magsayo staggered Figueroa with two sharp right uppercuts. Momenta later, Magsayo walked Figueroa down to the ropes and unloaded a flurry of shots.

Figueroa rebounded in the third round with a solid body attack. He connected with a thudding right to Magsayo's ribs in the third, which drew a reaction from the crowd.

Magsayo outboxed Figueroa in the fourth as he pot-shotted his opponent for most of the frame, taking advantage of Figueroa's willingness to try and smother Magsayo on the inside.

The fifth frame appeared to go to Magsayo again as he outworked Figueroa. He connected with a series of right uppercuts that snapped Figueroa's head back.

The tide turned in the seventh round as Magsayo began to tire, perhaps caused by his difficult weight cut. Figueroa took advantage and began to work his adversary to the body.

Both fighters were admonished for fouls in the eighth round. However, only one was penalized. Taylor called time after Figueroa landed a low blow and Magsayo was docked a point for holding and hitting.

Magsayo responded with anger as he unloaded a barrage of lefts and rights to the head and body that backed up Figueroa with approximately a minute remaining in the eighth.

Figueroa and Magsayo exchanged heavy leather on the inside for much of the ninth round. Magsayo appeared to land the more effective punches, as he drilled Figueroa with a right hand with just over a minute to go in the round.

Taylor took a second point from Magsayo with 1:16 to go in the 11th round for hitting and holding Figueroa. Taylor previously deducted a point from Magsayo for the same infraction in the eighth round.

Magsayo blasted Figueroa with a right hand just after the midway mark of the 10th round, but Figueroa pressed forward.

Magsayo went down twice from pushes in the 10th round. As a result, no knockdown was called. Magsayo landed another blistering right hand in the 10th, but Figueroa stayed on his feet.

By the 12th round, Magsayo was nearly out on his feet from exhaustion. In turn, Figueroa was also too gassed to put Magsayo away as he had him within his sights for much of the frame. A truly entertaining fight was then turned upside down as the judges turned in surprisingly wide score totals.

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