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Square Ring Boxing: Figueroa Faces Rees On Calzaghe vs. Jones Undercard

NABF light welterweight champion Frankie "El Gato" Figueroa has signed a promotional contract with Roy Jones, Jr.'s Square Ring Promotions and the Bronx fighter has been added to the November 8 Jones-Calzaghe HBO PPV card at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Figueroa, 19-2 (13), has been in Las Vegas training for his November 8, 10 round fight against former WBA light welterweight Gavin "The Rock" Rees, 27-1 (13).

"Fighting Rees is a phenomenal first step for me by my new promoter," Figueroa said. "Square Ring is doing its job and I'm doing mine by focusing to fight my best. To be fighting on the Jones-Calzaghe card will catapult me to a different level, the big-time!

"I want to thank Team Rees for allow me to fight Gavin. It's a great opportunity for me as well as Gavin. Beating a former world champion would show my great heart and chin and for him a win would be good coming off of his first loss. Millions of fans will be watching me take a step toward a world title."

Figueroa, a Puerto Rican American born in Spanish Harlem, not too long ago was counseling rebellious teens in New York City. He was a two time New York City high school wrestler, 14-0 as a senior, who didn't start boxing until eight years ago after taking advice from a friend.

Now 30 and in his sixth year fighting as a pro, "El Gato" is one of the top rated light welterweights in the world: WBC #4, IBF #5 and WBA #15. His last fight on May 5 was a win by 12 round decision against Luis Rodriquez, extending Frankie's win streak to 11, dating back to March of 2005.

Welsh-born Rees, who has never fought outside of the United Kingdom as a pro, captured the WBA title in 2007, winning a 12 round decision from Souleymane M'baye. This past March, Rees suffered his first loss when Andreas Kotelnik stopped him in the 12th round for the WBA crown.

"A good win against Rees should position me for a title shot against Kotelnik, or a fight against any of the other top 140 pounders in the world, in 2009," the U.S. Army veteran Figueroa commented. "I see a lot of myself in Rees, but I'm a little quicker, a lot stronger, and a better thinker.

"I haven't fought too often at home in New York City lately and this fight is going to be colossal. It's going to be crazy like the last time I fought in Madison Square Garden [November 11, 2006], when I beat Joey Rios on the Klitschko vs. Brock card for the New York State title. Rios was 'King Kong' in the Bronx at that time, but people in New York City knew what I could do.

"I'm training in Las Vegas because my trainer, Buddy McGirt, is there working with Paulie Malignaggi [for his Nov. 22 fight against Ricky Hatton]. I go where my trainer is. I love it. I'm training at Bones Adams' gym and there's a lot of good sparring there."

Figueroa is nicknamed "El Gato", Spanish for "The Cat", because he was the only one quick enough to catch a cat that was a mascot at his original gym in the Bronx. This cat is now a fan-friendly, southpaw slugger who is coming out of the bag on November 8 at home in the Big Apple.

"At this stage of my career," Frankie concluded, "Rees is my biggest fight and I'm getting a great opportunity to knock down the doors for a world title fight. I've had good fights in the past but nothing came out of it. Things are going to be different after this fight."

For more information about Frankie Figueroa visit his web site at www.teamgato.com, where you can enter a sweepstakes to win what he's wearing in the ring Nov. 8 as well as a cash prize by simply filling out the mailing list form on the home page.

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