Sebastian Fundora is celebrating a big win…
The 24-year-old Cuban American professional boxer, known as “The Towering Inferno,” outlasted Erickson Lubin to claim the interim junior middleweight.
Fundora had dazzled with his height to earn the No. 5 spot in ESPN’s ranking, but he had never been truly tested before the fight Saturday against Lubin in Las Vegas.
In a fierce clash that saw both boxers hit the canvas, Fundora prevailed when Lubin’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham, stopped the bout after Round 9 due to Lubin’s grotesquely swollen face.
The damage accumulated over nine rounds in a fight that kicked into high gear after Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KOs) floored Lubin with a right hand in the closing seconds of Round 2.
Lubin (24-2, 17 KOs) rallied to score a knockdown of Fundora with a flurry of punches in the waning moments of Round 7 and was ahead on two scorecards 85-84 when the fight was stopped (the other score was 85-85).
“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,” Fundora said.
“I think this was probably my best performance ever. It was a back-and-forth fight. … The uppercut was landing like no other. 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.”
With the victory, Fundora expects a future shot at the WBC title currently held by Jermell Charlo, who meets Brian Castano in a rematch for the undisputed championship on May 14. All of the fighters are aligned with Premier Boxing Champions, making that fight easy to make.
“I see Charlo winning the fight against Castano,” said Fundora, who defeated Sergio Garcia via decision in December. “I feel like he’ll be too strong for Castano the second time.”
Lubin was just 21 when he challenged Charlo for the WBC title in 2017, a fight he lost via first-round knockout. He rebounded with wins over Ishe Smith, Terrell Gausha and, most recently, a sixth-round KO of former unified champion Jeison Rosario in June.
The 26-year-old from Orlando, Florida, was rated No. 4 by ESPN at 154 pounds and figures to land another meaningful fight in the near future.
“I think it was a good decision for Kevin Cunningham to stop the fight,” Fundora said. “[Lubin’s] face shifted from Round 1 to Round 9. 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.”
Fundora, meanwhile, will wait to see who emerges between Charlo and Castano.