The unbeaten unified 122-pound champ lists the finest performances of his career ahead of his showdown against former unified champ Danny Roman Saturday night on PBC on SHOWTIME.
The last three years have changed undefeated, unified WBC/WBO World Super Bantamweight Champion Stephen Fulton. The dedicated father of two sons admits there used to be a layer of immaturity that he waged an internal war with. Much of that has been reversed in recent years.
Fulton (20-0, 8 KOs) will defend his titles this Saturday in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) when “Scooter” fights former unified super bantamweight world champion Daniel Roman (29-3-1, 10 KOs).
Fulton’s majority-decision victory over Brandon Figueroa last November was among the top candidates for 2021 Fight of the Year. Fulton’s performance placed him among the favorites as 2021 Fighter of the Year. He’s not trod an easy path to the top. Of his 20 victories, nine have come over undefeated fighters (10 total counting a fighter earlier in his career making his pro debut).
The 27-year-old Philadelphian is also one of the great entertainers in the sport today. In the ring, he’s been willing to sacrifice pieces of his game to make fights more exciting. Out of the ring, his strong belief in himself allows him to be funny, self-deprecating, cocky, witty, and jovial.
This is Fulton’s list of his top five victories—in his words. Notice that they have all come within the last three years.
The burgeoning talent could be just touching the surface of what lies ahead.
5. PAULUS AMBUNDA
Date: May 11, 2019
Location: EagleBank Arena, Fairfax, Virginia
At stake: Ambunda’s IBO super bantamweight title
Records at the time: Fulton 15-0 (7 KOs), Ambunda 27-2 (11 KOs)
Result: Fulton UD (120-107, 120- 107, 120-107)
Significance: “This fight was significant for me because I was fighting for my first title. I didn’t know anything about Ambunda, and I didn’t care. All I knew was that I was fighting for a belt. I dominated Ambunda. It was easy, but the most interesting part of this fight is that I won my title. I didn’t learn anything new about myself. I already knew everything about myself. I knew what I could do, and I did it. I felt in control from the first round on, because he couldn’t get away from the jab. Once I’m able to hit you with the jab, the fight is done. I was waiting to do more, and once I was able to do some extra, he was going down.”
4 ISAAC AVELAR
Date: August 24, 2019
Location: Bert Ogden Arena, Edinburg, Texas
At stake: No title
Records at the time: Fulton 16-0 (7 KOs), Avelar 15-0 (10 KOs)
Result: Fulton KO 6 (1:26)
Significance: “I didn’t know anything about Avelar, I just knew that I could beat him. I stopped him with a body shot. It was a left to the ribs. I beat him in his backyard. He was a tough Mexican and I beat him in front of a whole crowd of Mexicans. This fight got me more known. There was nothing special about Avelar. He was an undefeated fighter, and I added him to my list of undefeated fighters that I’ve beaten.”
3 ARNOLD KHEGAI
Date: January 25, 2020
Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
At stake: No title
Records at the time: Fulton 17-0 (8 KOs), Khegai 16-0-1 (10 KOs)
Result: Fulton UD (117-111, 117-111, 116-112)
Significance: “I knew he would be aggressive. My game plan was to box him. Khegai was another undefeated fighter that I was facing, he fought dirty. He slammed me in the ring. I remember that. I forgot what round it was. It may have been the seventh. All I know is he put his foot out and slammed the hell out of me. He power bombed me on the canvas (laughs). I wasn’t hurt. I knew I had to rely on my boxing skills and keep him off me. I had to keep my composure.
“I pride myself on being a smart fighter. I had to stay smart. I kept banging this guy, boxing the hell out of him and he kept coming. I waved him forward a few times. I was teasing him to come forward because I knew he couldn’t hit me. He got more aggressive, and he gave up. He didn’t want anymore.”
2 ANGELO LEO
Date: January 23, 2021
Location: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut
At stake: Leo’s WBO super bantamweight title
Records at the time: Fulton 18-0 (8 KOs), Leo 20-0 (9 KOs)
Result: Fulton UD (119-110, 119-110, 118-110)
Significance: “I don’t really have too much to say about this fight. I had overcome so much. I wanted him. I had COVID in July . That took me out of our [August 2020] fight. I made some mistakes. There were things I needed to change and had to address, and I did. Leo was easy. He had nothing to offer me. I did what I wanted to do to him in the ring. I knew if I pressed him back, he couldn’t fight going backwards. I pressed him back with my boxing skills and little bit of freakishness.
“My hands were cool. They started hurting me in the end, but I came into that fight healthy. I made sure beating him was going to get me respect. This is the fight that I think put me on the map. I made a couple of mistakes here and there. He was landing his right. This fight showed that I can win a lot of different ways. He got dirty, and then I had to get a little dirty. I proved I could win boxing, and I proved I can win a dogfight. By the sixth round, he was done. He was breathing heavy. I knew then I was in control and there was no way he was going to catch me. It was easy.”
1 Brandon Figueroa
Date: November 27, 2021
Location: Park Theater, Las Vegas, Nevada
At stake: Fulton’s WBO super bantamweight title; Figueroa’s WBC super bantamweight title
Records at the time: Fulton 19-0, (8 KOs), Figueroa 22-0-1 (11 KOs)
Result: Fulton MD (116-112, 116-112, 114-114)
Significance: “I made this fight harder than it should have been. I was going through some things leading up to that fight; personal things that I don’t want to get into. My hands felt better than they felt in years. I proved I can win playing my game, and I can win playing his game. I beat him playing his game. He had that look in his eyes that he wanted to take my belt from me. His aggressive was his weaknesses. I backed him up.
“Here’s something else about that fight no one else knows; I made weight the wrong way. I didn’t have the energy to box every second of every round. It’s why I say I made it hard on myself. It was nothing he did. I had to pace myself. I couldn’t take any rounds off; my energy level wasn’t as high as it should have been. I definitely frustrated him. He said something about hitting low, but he was hitting low. I beat this guy and I still don’t think I got the respect that I deserved. God bless Brandon Figueroa and his family. I hope they’re sleeping well knowing that I beat him. Maybe I’ll get a chance to beat him again at 126 pounds. I should have had more gas than the first time I beat him. After I beat him, I don’t think he gave me the full credit that I deserved. In time, I’ve grown really happy with that fight. This fight is my No. 1 fight because it changed my outlook in the ring and my outlook on life.”
For a closer look at Stephen Fulton, check out his fighter page.