Super welterweight Sebastian Fundora’s 6-foot-6-inch frame suggests he’d box best at range, using his uncanny length and reach to control distance.
But “The Towering Inferno” prefers fighting in close quarters instead. And for good reason.
At least on Saturday night.
Fundora (19-0-1, 13 knockouts) pummeled fellow 154-pound contender Erickson Lubin (24-2, 17 KOs) at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, marching toward him and battering him with flurries of uppercuts to secure the WBC’s interim title. Referee Russell Mora stopped the fight after the ninth round at the urging of Lubin’s corner, officially granting Fundora a victory by technical knockout.
Lubin’s face was badly disfigured, having absorbed far too many punches.
With the interim title in hand, Fundora could be in line to face Jermell Charlo or Brian Castano, who fight in Los Angeles on May 14 for the undisputed super welterweight title.
“I think probably this was my best performance today,” said Fundora, who fights out of Coachella, California. “The uppercut was landing like no other and it got the job done. … That’s my lucky punch. We’re here in Vegas. I feel a little lucky. That’s my lucky punch. It lands most of the time.”
Fundora is undefeated. Lubin’s only other loss was to Charlo, the WBA, WBC and IBF champion. The stakes on Saturday spoke for themselves, with the winner securing favorable positioning within the division.
The fight didn’t disappoint, either, and both fighters were active and aggressive during the nine rounds.
Fundora pressed forward from the opening bell, using his size and length to manipulate Lubin and batter him on the inside. He floored him in the second round with a short right uppercut before the bell and remained aggressive in the ensuing rounds.
But Lubin didn’t waver, scoring a knockdown in the seventh round by uncorking a flurry that backed Fundora into the ropes. But Fundora regrouped and his uppercuts took their toll on Lubin, whose face was visibly damaged by the preponderance of punishment.
Lubin actually led 85-84 on all three cards at the time of the stoppage, though Fundora had a 255-149 edge in punches — including a 233-116 edge in power punches, per CompuBox.
“This is the interim belt. I want the world championship title,” said Fundora, who picked Charlo to beat Castano in their undisputed title fight. “I want the real deal.”
In the co-feature, former WBC champion Tony Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs) cruised to a 100-90, 100-90, 98-92 decision over Sergio Garcia (33-2, 14 KOs). The 31-year-old from Detroit boxed brilliantly, mixing power punches around a crisp jab.
Garcia, who lost a decision in December to Fundora, absorbed several flush shots. But he couldn’t equal Harrison’s output and lost his second consecutive fight, albeit rather admirably. Harrison landed 197 punches compared to 103 for Garcia, per CompuBox.
He also landed 109 jabs to Garcia’s 28.
“I pitched a shutout against a guy who just fought a guy that’s in the main event right now,” Harrison said. “Muscles is the way of the streets, but skills pay the bills.”
Contact Sam Gordon at email@example.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.