An amazing back and forth battle ends with Fundora winning the WBC Interim Super Welterweight Title Saturday night in the PBC on SHOWTIME main event.
Sebastian Fundora, the 6-foot, 5 ½-inch “Towering Inferno” may look like a basketball player, but the spindly southpaw is all fighter.
In a brilliant, early candidate for Fight of the Year, Fundora scored a ninth-round stoppage over Erickson “Hammer” Lubin in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event in a Premier Boxing Champions event, live from The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.
“I think this was probably my best performance ever,” Fundora said. “It was a back-and-forth fight, and he really brough his hammers today, but you know what, I decided to bring my drill and that’s what I did. My uppercut was landing like no other, it got the job done.”
Each fighter scored a knockdown and Lubin showed incredible heart, but by fight’s end his face was a swollen, bloody mess.
“The uppercut is my lucky punch,” Fundora said. “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.
“I knew he was going to come to fight. Lubin is an incredible fighter. I wish him nothing but the best. He caught me with a good punch that made me think for a second. I recollected myself and I got the job done.”
Lubin got off to a strong start in the battle between southpaws. Fundora warmed up in the second as the two swapped blows in close quarters. With :09 left in the frame, Fundora, 24, 19-0-1 (13 KOs), feinted and then unloaded a right uppercut, dropping Lubin for the third time in the latter’s career.
“I hit him with one uppercut and I saw that it rocked him,” Fundora said. “So I did it again and again and again. I knew the uppercut was going to land. He said he was going to come out and fight me and he did. Hats off to him.”
Lubin made it out of the round but was still somewhat shaky at the start of the third though he had enough to plow a few rights off of Fundora’s chin.
In the fourth, Fundora continued to back Lubin up. Lubin was game, ripping shots to Fundora’s waist and looping lefts to the head. By round’s end, was Lubin backing Fundora up against the ropes.
The give and take in the middle rounds were breathtaking. Fundora threw and landed more, punishing Lubin in close quarters. Lubin’s work was more efficient yet he looked worse for wear.
What had been a great back-and-forth fight to begin with, took another turn in the seventh. The stanza began with Fundora landing volleys on a bruised and fatigued Lubin who was developing a hematoma between his eyes. It appeared as if Fundora was headed toward a stoppage win when Lubin uncorked a perfect, short right hook. A dazed Fundora began backing up. Lubin pounced, battering the Coachella, California resident until he took a knee—the first time he’s ever 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.
“I started to eat the cake in one bite. I went back to my corner and my dad said, ‘Don’t be doing that. Don’t be acting dumb.’ I came back in the next round and I figured stuff out again.”
Fundora poured it on in the eighth. Finally, in the ninth, with Lubin’s eyes swelling, the hematoma growing, blood coming from his mouth, Fundora put more pressure on him, landing power punches at an alarming rate. Fundora trainer Kevin Cunningham had seen enough, mercifully ending it when Lubin returned to the corner.
At the time of the stoppage, Lubin was ahead on the three judge’s scorecards, with Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld each having him up, 76-74, and Tim Cheatham giving him a 77-75 lead.
Even so, Lubin didn’t complain when his corner waved it off.
“I think it was a good decision for Kevin Cunningham to stop the fight,” Fundora said. “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.
“I see (Jermell) Charlo winning the fight against (Brian) Castano. I feel like he’ll be too strong for Castano the second time. If Castano 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.”
Tony Harrison looks sharp in dominating Sergio Garcia
It’s a little hard to believe Tony “Superbad” Harrison had not won a fight since 2018. The former unified world super welterweight champion ended that drought with a thoroughly dominant 10-round unanimous decision over Sergio Garcia.
Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs) shutout Garcia (33-2, 14 KOs) on two of the three judge’s scorecards, looking rejuvenated in the process.
“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. He was swinging for the fences. When he was missing shots, all I heard was ‘whoosh!’. I felt it. I was trying to throw a few more counter shots in between. My composure was everything.”
Garcia did some damage in the second, crowding Harrison against the ropes and landing a short, right uppercut with 1:33 left in the round. It might have been the only round Garcia won. Harrison’s jab controlled the fight as he continuously caught Garcia coming in in and offset his rhythm.
“All I needed to do was land a (expletive) punch,” Garcia said. “Just one good one. But I didn’t. Harrison fought his fight and was very smart with his jab and his elusiveness, major credit to him.
“I can put on a show all you want, but the bottom line is that I need wins and that I have two losses in a row instead. Reality is that I’m not at a championship level yet, but I’ll keep fighting.”
After the second, Harrison’s superior skills and experience took over. He landed the cleaner shots, used his jab effectively, causing Garcia to cover up and become more cautious as the fight progressed.
In the last minute of the sixth, Harrison snapped Garcia’s head back with a steady flow of jabs. With :40 left in the round, he caught Garcia with a counter left uppercut.
Garcia was baffled. He didn’t know what to do.
In the seventh, Harrison bounced a few combinations off of Garcia’s head. With :52 left in the eighth, Superbad winged a left hook off of Garcia’s jaw. By the 10th, Garcia needed a knockout to win. It never came as Harrison re-enters the world title shot conversation.
Kevin Salgado and Bryant Perrella ends in a split draw
Kevin Salgado was looking to grab a bigger portion of the boxing landscape making his U.S. debut. Bryant Perrella was looking to get a break, after some tough decisions in going 1-1-1 over his last three fights.
Neither fighter left the ring heartbroken. Neither left satisfied, either.
Salgado (14-0-1, 9 KOs) and Perrella (17-3-2, 14 KOs) fought to a 10-round split-draw, with John McKaie scoring it 97-93 for Perrella, David Sutherland giving Salgado a 96-94 nod and Steve Weisfeld scoring it a 95-95 draw.
“I was shocked by the decision,” Perrella said. “Two draws in a row. I put my all into this and I get robbed at the end of the day. It’s a tough pill to swallow. You know I easily outboxed him. He barely landed any punches. I don’t know what more I can do. I did my best. It is what it is.”
This was a step up for Salgado, whose previous five opponents had a cumulative record of 29-33-2. He started well, nailing Perrella with a body shot 90 seconds into the fight and using his jab to keep Perrella occupied.
Perrella found his range in the second. He began countering Salgado and he began double jabbing to the body. This forced the aggressive Salgado to become somewhat hesitant to come forward.
“I thought my gameplan and execution was great,” Perrella said. “I boxed smart. I broke him down. I’m not going to run from him. He was just winging big shots any time I would step in just trying to knock me out with one punch. I kept the jab in his face. Jabs to the body. Left hands. I hurt him. Everything was going great and it looked like I was sweeping all the rounds.”
By the fifth, Perrella was using his jab to set up bigger shots, like the left uppercut in which he knocked Salgado off balance with :54 left in the fifth round. Salgado reacted well to it, but that shot was the most impactful punch of the fight to that point.
“I felt like I won,” Salgado said. “All Perrella did was run around and away from me. Maybe if I had pressured a bit more, that last judge would have leaned more in my favor. Perrella kept throwing his jab but almost never connected.”
Salgado rebounded in the sixth, coming forward and pressuring Perrella, whose punch volume dissipated in the sixth and seventh rounds. Perrella again picked up his pace in the eighth and wound throwing 503 punches to Salgado’s 375 for the fight, out throwing Salgado in eight of the 10 rounds.
“Bring them on, whoever it is, I’ll be ready,” Salgado said. “I think that tonight was definitely a positive step in the right direction towards becoming the next Mexican star in the United States, and I look forward to pleasing the fans with more Mexican-style fights in the future.”
For a closer look at Lubin vs Fundora, check out our fight night page.