Fundora: ‘I fight for the fans’

Unbeaten super welterweight sensation Sebastian “The Towering Inferno’’ Fundora offered a clear warning to the rest of the 154-pound division as he prepares to defend his interim WBC title against former title challenger Carlos Ocampo live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, October 8 from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.

“Everyone in the division has to watch out,” said Fundora. “Because I’m coming. I’m definitely not overlooking this opponent, but whenever I get that title chance, I’m ready for it.”

Already considered perhaps the most exciting fighter in the sport at just 24-years-old, Fundora explained the mentality that has allowed him to thrill fight fans time and time again.

“A lot of people who come out to these fights are working class and they spend their hard-earned money to go watch a good fight, and that’s what I want to deliver,” said Fundora. “I fight for the fans. Without the fans, boxing is not the same.”

Photo: Jose Montañez/Team Fundora

For this fight, Coachella, California’s Fundora will share the stage with his younger sister, 20-year-old rising flyweight Gabriela Fundora, who competes in an undercard bout at Dignity Health Sports Park. Although it will be the first time they share a card, Sebastian is confident that the training from their father Freddy will allow each to focus on their individual tasks.

“We always train together, so preparing to fight on the same date didn’t require any adjustments or changes really,” said Fundora. “My sister is going to fight before me and I’ll be focused on my fight, even while watching her. We’ve trained all camp so that I know what I’m supposed to be doing at that moment. I’ll definitely be ready by the time it’s my moment to get in the ring.

“This opportunity shows that the hard work me and my sister have been putting in, is really paying off. I’m already in a comfortable spot in my career, but it really shows how her hard work has gotten her to this platform.”

Fundora’s stock skyrocketed after his most recent outing, which saw him claim the vacant Interim WBC Super Welterweight Title by stopping Erickson Lubin after nine rounds, in a memorable bout on SHOWTIME in April that is a certain contender for 2022 Fight of the Year. Despite the career-best victory, Fundora saw the outcome as him simply proving what he already believed about himself.

“I feel like I didn’t learn anything in my last fight, I just went out there and proved what I already knew to everyone,” said Fundora. “In that camp we were focused on showing everyone that I’m an elite fighter at 154 pounds.”

The 6-foot-6 Fundora also showed an ability to overcome adversity in the duel against Lubin, and wisdom beyond his years. After dropping his opponent in round two and racing out to an early lead, Fundora was on the receiving end of a vicious onslaught from Lubin in round seven and elected to take a knee to recuperate. Between rounds nine and 10, Lubin’s corner was forced to throw in the towel after Fundora rose to his feet and regained control of the action.

“I never had a doubt in my mind during the Lubin fight,” said Fundora. “If I doubted myself, I would not be here right now. I had the composure to use my brain and take a knee during that fight. I got hit with a good punch and I was like, ‘let me take a little breather’, instead of getting hit like that again. I used my intelligence.”

On October 8, Fundora makes the first defense of his interim title against the rising Mexican contender Ocampo, who enters the fight on a 12-bout winning streak. Since a 2018 loss to unified welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr., Ocampo has moved up in weight and reeled off win after win to earn another shot at a top fighter. Fundora expects that motivation, combined with the Baja Californian’s aggressive style, to equal memorable action for everyone watching.

“Ocampo is a big, Mexican 154-pounder,” said Fundora. “He’s been at this weight for a while now and I know he’s coming in hungry. It’s his second chance on the big stage and I’m eager to see what he brings to the ring. I’m ready for him to bring his best. He’s going to be an aggressive fighter with a classic Mexican style. This is a perfect fight for Southern California. What more could you want?”

Fundora-Ocampo set for October 8 in Carson

Unbeaten super welterweight sensation Sebastian “The Towering Inferno’’ Fundora will seek to continue his dominance and demonstrate why he’s one of the most feared fighters in boxing when he defends his Interim WBC Super Welterweight Title against former title challenger Carlos Ocampo live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, October 8 from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast will see top middleweights Carlos Adames and Juan Macias Montiel square off for the Interim WBC Middleweight Title in the co-main event, while IBF Junior Bantamweight World Champion Fernando Martinez meets former champion Jerwin Ancajas in a highly-anticipated 12-round rematch to open the telecast at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KOs) has rocketed to the top of the super welterweight division with a fan-friendly style and bruising toughness in the ring. At 6-foot-6, the unbeaten 24-year-old southpaw from Coachella, Calif., towers over his opponents, but has displayed an appetite for toe-to-toe combat from short range. Fundora showed his mettle in his last fight, battling the hard-hitting Erickson Lubin in an instant 2022 Fight of the Year contender. Despite both men hitting the canvas, Fundora stood tall in the end, prompting Lubin’s corner to stop the fight at the end of the ninth round.

“I’m very pleased and honored to be back in action on October 8,” said Fundora. “I’m excited to be back on a big PBC show at Dignity Health Sport Park and on SHOWTIME defending my WBC interim title against a quality ranked fighter like Carlos Ocampo. On top of things, my sister Gabriela Fundora will be performing on the same card, and we’re training hard to give everyone a great show.”

Ocampo (34-1, 22 KOs) is riding a 12-fight win streak dating back to his first and only career setback, a KO loss to current unified welterweight champion and pound-for-pound great Errol Spence, Jr. in 2016. During the 12-fight stretch, nine of the victories have come by stoppage. The 26-year-old from Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico will have to be at his best if he wants to keep that streak alive against one of the hottest boxers in the super welterweight division in Fundora. In his last fight Ocampo scored a victory by first round KO over Vicente Martin Rodriguez on June 11, his first U.S. action since the Spence bout for his eighth stoppage in his last 10 bouts.

“I’m very happy to have the opportunity to be fighting on the big stage again and it’s even better that it is against a great fighter like Fundora,” said Ocampo. “I know that he is a warrior inside the ring, just like me. This is going to be a can’t-miss fight for the fans. I would like to thank everyone involved in making this fight, but especially my daughter, who is my inspiration every time I step into the ring.”

Adames (21-1, 16 KOs) is quickly becoming a force in the middleweight division as he nears his first world title opportunity at 160 pounds. He fought three times in 2021, scoring two KO victories and earning a majority decision over top contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko in his last fight on December 5. The 28-year-old Adames was born in Comendador, Dominican Republic and now lives in Washington Heights, New York. He established himself as a contender with a slew of victories over the likes of former champion Carlos Molina, Frank Galarza, Joshua Conley and Alejandro Barrera, with his only defeat coming by narrow decision in a 2019 154-pound title fight against Patrick Teixeira.

“I’ve been waiting patiently to get back in the ring and bring the fans another war,” said Adames. “Being in a fight like this has me motivated like never before. A win against a tough fighter like Montiel will do wonders for my career. I’ve been eager to showcase what I’ve been working on and show the fans that I’m the next middleweight star. On October 8, I’m going to get one step closer to becoming the first Dominican middleweight world champion of all time.”

The 28-year-old Montiel (23-5-2, 23 KOs) showed his grit and determination in the ring as he battled for 12 grueling rounds against middleweight champion Jermall Charlo in June 2021. He slugged it out with Charlo and came up short in a unanimous decision loss to the world champion, but improved his stock as a contender. Fighting out of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico he bounced back six months later with a third round KO victory over Christian Soto Valvarde on December 22.

“I made the mistake not taking it up another level against Jermall Charlo,” said Montiel. “That will never happen again. I’m thankful to my team for another great opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it. This time when Carlos Adames is hurt, and he will be, he is going to sleep. I learned my lesson about letting opponents escape.”

The unbeaten Martinez (14-0, 8 KOs) became the first world champion promoted by his countryman, former two-division world champion Marcos Maidana, with a scintillating victory over Ancajas on SHOWTIME in February. The 31-year-old from Avellaneda, Argentina made the most of the opportunity, landing a division record 421 power shots of the 427 total punches landed to secure a unanimous decision victory over Ancajas. Now he will look to repeat that feat and establish himself as one of the division’s best.

“I’ve been having an excellent training camp ahead of this rematch,” said Martinez. “I proved that I was up to the challenge back in February, and now I am ready to defend my title with all of my heart. The fans are going to see an even better Fernando Martinez when I step into the ring on October 8.”

The 30-year-old Ancajas (32-2-2, 22 KOs) decided to exercise his right to a rematch against Martinez and will now get a chance to wrestle back a world title that he held for six years and defended nine times before the loss to Martinez. Fighting out of Panabo City, Davao Del Norte, Philippines, Ancajas won the title in a lopsided unanimous decision victory over McJoe Arroyo in 2016 where he dropped his opponent in the eighth round and cruised to victory.

“It’s very weird to be in the challenger position after holding the title for over six years,” said Ancajas. “This has motivated me to work even harder preparing for this fight. I’ve made some adjustments in my training and can assure everyone that I’m going to show that the first fight was a fluke. I’m going to win on October 8 and become a two-time world champion!”

Fundora: ‘I think it was a good decision for Kevin Cunningham to stop the fight’

Top super welterweight contenders Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora and Erickson “Hammer” Lubin delivered an instant classic Saturday night, as Fundora captured the Interim WBC Super Welterweight Title via TKO after nine rounds in the SHOWTIME main event from The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of Curio Collection by Hilton in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

In a bout that lived up to the pre-fight hype, both men hit the canvas and showed tremendous fortitude to recover from knockdowns and continue to deliver massive blows. It was the six-foot, six-inch Fundora who struck first with a sweeping right uppercut that sent Lubin to the mat during the final seconds of round two.

“I think this was probably my best performance ever,” said Fundora. “It was a back-and-forth fight. He really brought his hammer but I decided to bring my drill. The uppercut was landing like no other. The uppercut is my lucky punch. I’m here in Vegas, so I feel a little lucky, and that’s my lucky punch. It lands most of the time with everybody. Southpaw. Right hand. It doesn’t matter. Once I find that, I feel like the job’s done.”

Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Despite appearing on shaky legs after round two, Lubin recovered in the final minute of round three to bloody Fundora with a series of head shots. Lubin won three of the first four rounds on all three scorecards, buoyed by a bruising body attack against his taller opponent.

In round seven, Fundora and Lubin engaged in a surefire Round of the Year candidate, as both men took serious damage. Fundora’s nonstop volume began to show dividends on Lubin’s face, which started to swell up from damage during the frame. However, Lubin showed championship mettle by turning the tide with an unrelenting series of hooks that eventually forced Fundora to take a knee, the first time he’s been down as a pro.

“I got hit with a good punch and I didn’t feel like I needed to get hit again so I took a knee to get a little breather in and I recovered,” said Fundora. “I intentionally took a knee. I knew I had to take a knee because if I kept getting hit like that it wouldn’t be smart for me and I wouldn’t be able to recollect myself.”

After rising to his feet after the knockdown, Fundora recovered to out-land Lubin 26 to 12 and 28 to 3 in rounds eight and nine respectively, according to CompuBox. Overall, Fundora out-landed Lubin 255 to 149, while Lubin held a 40% to 36% advantage in punch accuracy. Lubin had early success with his jab, landing 18 over the first three rounds, but only connected on 15 throughout the rest of the action.

After a one-sided round nine, and with swelling continuing to grow around Lubin’s face, his trainer Kevin Cunningham asked referee Russell Mora to stop the fight, officially ending the action via a TKO after nine rounds. At the time of the stoppage, Lubin led 85-84 on two judges’ cards, with the third judge scoring the fight 85-85.

“I think it was a good decision for Kevin Cunningham to stop the fight,” said Fundora. “His face shifted from round one to round nine. It completely morphed and there was a lot of blood coming out. He’s a tough fighter. He was in the game the whole time but there’s no need to get hurt that much.”

Lubin was taken to UMC Trauma Center for further observation post fight. For Fundora, he puts himself in position to face the winner of the undisputed 154-pound title rematch between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño, taking place May 14 on SHOWTIME.

“I see Charlo winning the fight against Castaño,” said Fundora. “I feel like he’ll be too strong for Castaño the second time. If Castaño wins, that’s great too. I just want to go after all of them. This is the interim belt so I want the world champion title. I want the real deal.”

Fundora: ‘Fans can expect me to bring action against Erickson Lubin’

Unbeaten 154-pound contender Sebastián “The Towering Inferno” Fundora talks about reaching his peak as a fighter heading into his anticipated clash against Erickson “Hammer” Lubin as the two rising stars meet for the Interim WBC Super Welterweight Title headlining live on SHOWTIME Saturday, April 9 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from the Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of Curio Collection by Hilton.

In discussing his most recent victory, a decision over previously unbeaten Sergio Garcia in December, Fundora declared that he’s continued to improve since scoring that first 12-round victory of his young career.

“I learned against Garcia that I’m in great condition and that I can go into deep waters,” said Fundora. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot during this camp. It’s really everything. My boxing, my strength, my running and my overall conditioning is at a higher level. Everything is just peaking for me heading into this fight.”

Despite a colossal standing at over six-foot-six, Fundora has historically had no problems making the 154 pound limit, and stated that he’s actually been able to eat even more during this preparation.

“I’m eating a lot more this training camp,” said Fundora. “It’s not like I’m eating McDonalds every day, but I can eat what I want. We’ve been eating a lot of protein. I feel like I’m bulking but the weight isn’t there. I feel strong.”

After garnering attention for his eye-catching height early in his pro career, the 24-year-old Fundora faced a steadily improving string of opponents in his development leading up to this interim title opportunity. After taking on a Mexican slugger in Jorge Cota and an unbeaten European contender in Garcia during 2021, Fundora considers this opportunity against Lubin to have come at the right time in his career.

“It feels great to be in this position, but it’s part of the plan,” said Fundora. “We’re just going through with it. I’ve got racehorse vision and I’m making sure that I’ll get the job done. Being in this fight shows that I’m maturing. I first fought with PBC when I was 19-years-old and I’m a much different fighter since then.”

On April 9, Fundora steps up once again to face the 26-year-old Lubin, who is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. Lubin will seek to earn a second world title opportunity after losing to Jermell Charlo in 2017, while Fundora hopes to show his own championship-mettle against quality competition.

“We know Lubin is a southpaw and that he’s ranked number one by the WBC,” said Fundora. “He’s a good fighter overall. I expect him to come in and box, but I’m really just focused on doing what I do best.”

Known for his action style, Fundora promised to live up to his nickname and deliver heat when he steps into the ring on April 9.

“Fans can expect me to bring action against Erickson Lubin,” said Fundora. “’The Towering Inferno’ is bringing the fire on fight night.”

Lubin on fight with Fundora: ‘On April 9, I will not be denied’

Top super welterweight contender Erickson “Hammer” Lubin will look to “rewrite history” and move one step closer to becoming a world champion when he faces undefeated Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora in their eagerly-anticipated showdown for the WBC Super Welterweight Interim Title on Saturday, April 9 live on SHOWTIME in a Premier Boxing Champions event from the Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of Curio Collection by Hilton.

Lubin shared insights into his training camp and previewed his upcoming matchup with Fundora, which represents another chance for the Floridian to move towards a second title opportunity after a 2017 defeat to Jermell Charlo.

Since that loss, Lubin (24-1, 17 KOs) has put together an impressive six-bout winning streak, most recently knocking out former unified 154-pound champion Jeison Rosario in June. Now, Lubin will face literally his tallest test in Fundora, a rising contender who stands at six-foot-six while possessing strong boxing skills and a willingness to mix it up on the inside.

Here is what Lubin had to say about training camp, Fundora and more:

On his camp in Las Vegas:

“This is the next step in my career to secure my shot at the title, so I took my training to the next level. I moved my whole camp to Las Vegas, to avoid all distractions. This is a career-defining moment for me, and a chance for me to rewrite history after my first world title fight. I want to be a world champion and to do that, I must sacrifice some of my comforts. My trainer Kevin Cunningham has also made some major additions to my training regimen and the hard work will be on display when I step in the ring.”

On his matchup with Fundora:   

“I think he’s a very tough challenge for anybody in the division. He comes to fight and is always in tremendous shape. Fundora is tall and rangy but likes to fight in close quarters, which should make for a fan friendly and exciting fight. I’m in the best shape of my life and I know he’s going to be at his best for this fight. On April 9, I will not be denied.”

On fighting for the WBC Super Welterweight Interim Title:

“I have worked hard, taken on tough opponents, and climbed back to where I once was, and the WBC noticed what I did. By doing that, I am now able to take the next step to fulfill my dream when I started – which is becoming a world champion. Nothing in boxing is given to any fighter, and to become a world champion I must face one of the best emerging fighters in boxing. I’m ready!”

On fighting In Las Vegas on SHOWTIME:

“Fighting on a premier network like SHOWTIME, in the fight capital of the world, is a dream come true. I grew up watching fights on SHOWTIME on Saturday night and now a new generation of young fighters will see me in that position. If ever I need motivation, thinking about this situation gives me all the motivation I need. I won’t say I made it, but it truly shows me that with hard work, anything is possible.”

Photos: Team Lubin/MJS Entertainment

Fundora: ‘I’d love to fight Charlo or Castaño’

Unbeaten super welterweight contender Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora plans to make the most of his opportunity stepping up in competition when he faces fellow unbeaten Sergio Garcia in a WBC Super Welterweight World Title Eliminator Sunday, December 5, which serves as the SHOWTIME PPV co-main event for Gervonta Davis vs. Isaac Cruz live from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

“Of course I see this as a step up fight,” said Fundora. “He’s ranked number two by the WBC for a reason. I want to show that I’m going to become a world champion. This is the next step toward reaching my goal.”

The 23-year-old Fundora has shot up the rankings and made a name for himself as must-see T.V. by engaging in numerous action fights. Since an August 2019 split-draw against Jamontay Clark, Fundora has won four-straight fights, including three in a row by stoppage. Amongst those three stoppage triumphs he became the first person to stop Nathaniel Gallimore and most recently dominated veteran Jorge Cota in May.

“We just want to keep winning and moving up with each fight,” said Fundora. “I’m just staying on the same routine so that I’m always ready for what’s coming next. We went right back into the gym after the Cota fight. I don’t ever worry about overtraining or anything like that, because we stay on a consistent routine of training hard.”

Fundora comes from a deeply-rooted boxing family, as both of his parents were fighters, in addition to his 19-year-old sister Gabriela, who sports a 4-0 professional record. That familial support has helped him remain focused on his goals while navigating his professional career.

“My parents taught me to respect the sport and it’ll respect you back,” said Fundora. “They also taught me that hard work pays off and that it shows up in every fight. I’ve learned that I just have to stick with the plan and keep improving day by day.”

A Coachella, California-native, Fundora will return to fight in Southern California for the second-straight fight after beating Cota in Carson in his last fight. Fundora is relishing the opportunity to again fight on friendly terrain, this time on the big stage downtown at STAPLES Center.

“This is home for me,” said Fundora. “It’s great to be fighting back-to-back times in Southern California. I went to STAPLES Center for a Vasyl Lomachenko fight before and it was a great atmosphere. I’m sure it’s going to be even more lively on December 5. I’m super excited for the opportunity to put on a great show for my fans that are there on fight night.”

With the 154-pound title belts currently held by unified WBC, IBF and WBA champion Jermell Charlo and WBO titlist Brian Castaño, who fought to a draw in July on SHOWTIME, Fundora plans to keep making steady improvement until his opportunity to fight for the belts arises.

“When the time comes to fight for the title, I’ll be more than ready,” said Fundora. “I’d love to fight Charlo or Castaño, but I’m just focused on taking it one fight at a time and facing whoever has those belts when my number is called.”

Fundora: ‘I’m not like the other fighters Cota has faced’

Sensational unbeaten contender Sebastián “The Towering Inferno” Fundora will look to strengthen his case as an elite up-and-coming Mexican-American contender when he takes on Jorge “El Demonio” Cota in FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View action Saturday, May 1 from Dignity Healthy Sports Park in Carson, California.

“It definitely motivates me to have PBC put me on such a big card with all of these Mexican and Mexican-American matchups and to be grouped with fighters of this caliber,” said Fundora. “I want to be looked at as part of the next generation of great Mexican-American fighters. Being in that class gives me a lot of pride, but I don’t necessarily feel any added pressure because of it. I just have to do my job on May 1 and the rest will come.”

Fundora and his father and trainer, Freddy Fundora, have been deep in training in their Coachella, California home as they near Fundora’s first fight of 2021. Fundora will look to build off of his 2020 campaign, which saw him score a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Lewis and stoppage wins over Nathaniel Gallimore and Habib Ahmed.

“This training camp is going great,” said Fundora. “Sparring has been really strong and I feel sharp. We’re covering all our bases so that we’re as ready as possible on May 1. I’m always training, so it’s really just a seamless transition from one camp to the next. We know we have to make sure that we do everything that we can to get this win.”

For the 23-year-old Fundora, his focus remains on each fight in front of him, instead of projecting about how his improvement may look fight-by-fight.

“I really try to take everything one fight at a time,” said Fundora. “Everything depends on how this fight unfolds. As soon as the bell rings, we’ll see what adjustments we need to make, if any, and go from there.”

Despite his patient approach, Fundora still has his sights set on making a big statement in his own unique way on May 1.

“I’m not like the other fighters Cota has faced,” said Fundora. “I want to make my own statement in the ‘Towering Inferno’ way. I expect him to come 100% ready for me, but his past experience won’t help him. This is a totally different fight for him.”

Fundora will be able to measure himself against past Cota opponents that include unified super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo, former unified champion Jeison Rosario and top contender Erickson Lubin. This past experience makes Cota perhaps Fundora’s toughest test to date, a fact that will do nothing to deter Fundora’s confidence heading into this showdown.

“I always consider it a tough fight, but I understand why the perception is that this is my toughest fight yet,” said Fundora. “I have faced a lot of fighters like Cota who like to come forward and engage on the inside. Cota is certainly one of the bigger names I’ve faced, but this is nothing different for me stylistically.”