Veteran boxing manager Sal LoNano has brought his fighter, NABF light welterweight champion Frankie “El Gato” Figueroa, in from his Bronx home to the Boston area for a five-week training program at the famed Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Winchester, Massachusetts.
LoNano is having Figueroa, 20-2 (13), follow in the same path two of his better known fighters, “Irish” Micky Ward and former IBF light welterweight champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi, also traveled with tremendous results.
“In Frankie’s last few fights I noticed something wrong on his right side,” LoNano explained. “He was switching around to the right side [Figueroa is a southpaw] because he was in some pain.
"I brought Micky and Paulie to Boyle’s because it’s the best finding physical weaknesses of pro athletes. A physical therapist evaluated Frankie and found the problem – intertwined cartilage in his right knee and a weak back. I knew something was wrong and it’s great they found out what I knew was wrong from watching him in fights and the gym.
“Boyle’s is the place to go for any athlete trying to get back on the right track. ‘Gato’ will work there and get strong, just like Micky and Paulie did, developing muscles not normally used in the fight game. For example, when Frankie threw a jab it didn’t have any power behind it because of his knee and back.
"He’ll work with his trainer at Boyle’s to correct the problem. Frankie will be back 100-percent, not 80 or 90 percent, and be ready to go to training camp in Vero Beach for four weeks prior to his next fight.”
Figueroa will workout at Boyle’s three days a week, two hours a day, for five weeks. After each session he is massaged-out and off days Frankie does light boxing-related workouts at a nearby gym.
“After one day of testing I realized that they’re very serious professionals,” Frankie said. “I was surprised because I thought the testing would be a lot of jumping and pulling. I’m expecting a big improvement and increases in my power, balance and speed. I’m for any edge that will help me reach my goal of becoming the undisputed light welterweight champion of the world.
"I take life as it comes; I’m humble but confident. I’ve won three titles (NABF, New York State light welterweight and WBC Intercontinental welterweight) but my job won’t be complete until I’m world champion. This strength-and-conditioning program is going to help me get there.”
Nicknamed “El Gato” – 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, Frankie is now promoted by Roy Jones. Jr’s Square Ring.
The 30-year-old Figueroa, a Puerto Rican-American born in Spanish Harlem, was 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.
A U.S. Army veteran rated No. 5 by the IBF, as well as No. 10 by the WBC and No. 14 by the WBA. Figueroa hopes to be matched in April against former world champion Randall Bailey in an IBF light welterweight title eliminator.
Figueroa, coming off of an eight round decision last November against veteran Emmanuel Augustus, has won his last 12 fights and is unbeaten for the past four-plus years.
For more information about Frankie Figueroa visit his web site at www.teamgato.com.