The unbeaten WBC ‘Interim’ super-welterweight champion takes on Brian Mendoza this weekend and we take a look at why he is backed by many to establish himself as the king of the 154-pound division.
If you passed Sebastian Fundora in the street, your first impression may be one of a university student who would flee from any form of physical confrontation.
Bespectacled, hovering over most at six foot five inches tall, and with a gangly frame of 154lbs, the 25-year-old is in fact anything but a pushover!
Unbeaten in 21 professional fights, and the WBC mandatory challenger to champion and undisputed king Jermell Charlo, the Floridian is seemingly on a path to world boxing stardom.
In the early hours of Easter Sunday, Fundora will bid to make a successful defence of his WBC 'Interim' title against Albuquerque’s Brian Mendoza, who, last time out, knocked out former world champion Jeison Rosario with a stunning fifth round 'highlight reel' knockout.
Another statement success for Fundora would undoubtedly keep Charlo within arms distance, as he prepares to defend all four of his world titles against the mandatory WBO challenger Tim Tszyu later this year.
But whilst many casual British boxing fans may not be too familiar with Fundora, we thought we'd bring him to your attention, given the fact that many insiders are backing him to establish himself as one of the sport's pound-for-pound stars over the next 12 months.
Firstly, let’s begin by looking at his physical attributes...
His height immediately gives him a huge advantage over his peers. The leading players in his weight class all stand somewhere between 5ft 8' and 5ft 11' , except Charlo, who is 6ft exactly.
Facing a fighter as gangly as as long as Fundora presents a major problem, even when you've had time to implement a game-plan to attempt to thwart him.
His extraordinary 80 inch reach could be the most potent weapon if he were to use it more, but as of yet, the clearly talented technician has preferred to engage in warfare - a tact that has certainly served to arouse supporters.
A change in mindset though could see Fundora’s wingspan becoming a nightmare for those in the opposite corner. Fundora can throw shots from all sorts of angles making him an even greater proposition, and boasts an an engine that can see him throw in excess of 100 punches per round.
However, for all of his clear talent and prowess, there is still work to be done if he is to fully fulfil his mammoth talent.
Whilst his all-action approach can serve him well, and entertain the thousands in attendance, when he does heat things up he can certainly become vulnerable.
A year ago, in his biggest test to date against Erickson Lubin, Fundora was sent packing to the canvas - as was his opponent too.
A Rock Em’ Sock Em’ uppercut dropped Lubin in the second round before the former world title challenger put Fundora to the deck in the seventh with a booming right hand.
An onslaught of shots forced Fundora to touch down but the American showed grit and refused to be beaten - he found that inner-strength to return fire to such an extent that Lubin’s corner opted to throw in the towel in round nine.
Size, reach, power, heart, stamina, and fortitude - six sizzling strengths that any fighter with aspirations of reaching the very top have to possess. Fundora has them all!
After April 8, his career can go in two directions...
Victory will either propel him into a mammoth unified 154-pound scrap with the victor of Jermell Charlo and Tim Tszyu or two the WBC title could be declared vacant which could pair Fundora with the sanctioning body’s number one contender Liam Smith.
Whatever the route, defeat to Brian Mendoza aside of course, a world title is seemingly on the horizon for 'The Towering Inferno', irrespective of which road he goes down.
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