|Rita “La Guera”
Figueroa, 5’4” born June 1, 1969 in Chicago – fights at lightweight or
Figueroa did not intend to be a boxer, and started rather late. In 1997,
she began taking martial arts classes at Degerberg Academy of Martial
Arts in Chicago at the age of 27. The head instructor at the time, now
Super Middleweight contender Oscar Bravo, was getting some fights
together for an in-school tournament, and asked if she was interested.
Figueroa told WBAN, "That was it. I loved it. Oscar was my original
trainer and mentor, and he guided me to a few kickboxing victories – no
losses. The shows were few and far between, so in 1999, Oscar took me
over to Windy City Gym in Chicago to see if I wanted to box, and to work
with famed Chicago trainer Sam Colonna. Sam has been my trainer (and
Oscar’s) ever since as well as fellow Black Belt Angela Gibson."
Not having a lot of amateur experience , Figueroa won the Chicago Golden
Gloves in 2001-2004, and won the 2000 Women’s Gear Up tournament in
Indiana, while still training in the Martial Arts and earning her 1st
Degree Black Belt in November of 2003.
She made my pro debut Oct 15, 2004 in Chicago against Courtney Elliot of
Cleveland, Ohio. Eliot landed some good shots in the first round, but
after the nerves settled a bit, Figueroa picked it up and her opponent
did not come out for round three.
©Photo byAngela Gibson.
All Rights Reserved
||On January 14, 2005,
she fought tough Sarina Hayden of Colorado in what was a
The Juan C. Ayllon, from the CBZ (Cyberboxingzone.com) wrote the
following (Excerpt): In a rousing four round war,
lightweight Rita Figueroa (134 lbs., 1-0-0, 1 KO) showed her moxy edged
in edging tough customer Sarina Hayden (134 lbs., 0-1-1). In round one,
Hayden began jabbing, then opened up, while Figueroa stalked; her hands
were the busier and more accurate of the two, landing in combination.
Pressuring, Figueroa landed several solid rights. A right hook over the
top seemed to start a slide for Haden as Figueroa gained momentum,
driving Hayden back hard with both fists. A pattern emerged that would
follow throughout the fight: Hayden would start strong, but Hayden would
storm back, the two fought tooth and nail and Figueroa would wrest
control as Hayden faded. In round two, Hayden threw freely as she
retreated. She landed several hard shots that drew gasps form the crowd.
Meanwhile, Figueroa stalked and landed some heavy shots, seemingly
rocking Hayden a couple of times. This was a case of a freer swinging
Hayden versus a heavier handed and pressuring Figueroa. Hayden opened
round three with a hard flurry, drawing blood from Figueroa’s nose.
Figueroa banged in some very heavy rights over the top. Hayden surged
back with some heavy shots of her own. Figueroa drove Hayden to a corner
with heavy rights and repeatedly rocked Hayden who appeared tired and on
the verge of getting stopped. A heavy right at rounds end rocked
Hayden’s head back on the ropes. Round four opened as Hayden drove
Figueroa to the ropes with a vicious two-handed assault. After being
broken from a clinch on the ropes, Figueroa returned the favor, driving
her back to rings center. Resuming the attack, the tow exchanged.
Figueroa landed hard rights over the top and appeared to be winning a
war of attrition. Tapped momentarily on the ropes, Hayden escaped as
Figueroa pursued. Once again, Figueroa appeared on the cusp of a
stoppage victory, as she pummeled Hayden. Giving all she had, Hayden
backed Figueroa up at rounds end. The fight was scored 39-37 for Hayden,
and 39-37 twice for Rita Figueroa.
©Photo by John Booz.
All Rights Reserved
On April 8th, 2005, Figueroa fought tough
veteran Janae Archuleta, of Colorado. In an editorial, by CBZ,
they reported, "Chicago's ever-popular Rita Figueroa (136 lbs., 2-0-0, 1
KO) showed discipline and science in decisioning rough slugger Janae
Archuleta (140 lbs., 4-10-1, 2 KO’s). Round one was a pleasing display
of give and take, with Archuleta swinging freely with both hands at the
beginning, but getting tagged early on with several potent rights. The
two traded solid slugging with perhaps Archuleta edging in the
infighting. Figueroa started round two more mobile, boxing
side to side, and landing by far the greater preponderance of effective
blows, even as Archuleta continued to bull her way in. Round three
saw more precise bombing and blocking from Rita even as Archuleta sought
to press matters behind a free-swinging attack. Figueroa’s right cheek
swelled grotesquely from an accidental head butt. In round four,
Archuleta attacked with a vengeance, landing a pair of potent right
hooks to the head. Following suit, she hammered away with rights and
lefts to head and body. However, Figueroa covered well and countered
neatly behind a tight guard, dropping in effective rights to the head.
At rounds end, the two exchanged in a rousing finale that left the
boisterous crowd amazed. The judges scored the bout 38-38 and 39-37
twice for a majority decision for the popular Rita Figueroa."
©Photo by John Booz.
All Rights Reserved
On June 10th, 2005, Figueroa fought
Jasmine Davis of Madison WI. Jasmine trains out of the Duke Rufous
school in Milwaukee, and with Duke being known in the Martial Arts
On Sept 16, 2005, fought Maria Nava in a scheduled 6 round fight that
would go the distance. A report of this bout is on Fightnews.com.
Illinois inspector and my
team, Greg, Angela, myself and Sam
– photo Mia Aigotti
On September 16, 2005, was a special
night for Figueroa, when Oscar Bravo, original trainer and great friend,
fought on the same card as she and he won by TKO.
Figueroa is promoted by Dominic Pesoli of 8 Count Productions and
trained by Sam Colonna and Angela Gibson, a fellow Black Belt at
With my promoter, Dominic
Pesoli of 8 Count Productions – Photo Mia Aigotti
Figueroa told WBAN, "The past 5 years in
boxing have allowed me incredible experiences that I would not have had
otherwise. I love the sport and hope continue boxing and enjoying the
sport for years to come."
Figueroa is happily married to husband of 12 years, Mike, and they have
a 17 year old daughter, Sahara. "We all enjoy riding our Harleys
when we’re not working or training. Both husband and daughter are
training for their Black Belts", Added Figueroa.