Boxing

Welcome to the Fundora Funhouse

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Sebastian Fundora just doesn’t look “right.”

The undefeated junior middleweight top contender, who is set to face Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo this Saturday on Showtime at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, is an almost unbelievably tall and gangly 6-foot-6 with the 80-inch reach of a biggest-of-the-big heavyweight. But an unusual physical appearance isn’t the strangest thing about the 24-year-old southpaw nicknamed “The Towering Inferno.”

The oddest think about the rising star is the fact that, despite having such a huge edge in height and reach (he sports a 7–10-inch reach advantage over all other champions and contenders in the 154 lb. class), he’s an inside fighter who avoids fighting on the outside at arm’s length. Although utilizing his massive reach advantage would seem to be common sense, the Coachella, California native likes to wage war up close, where he somehow manages to generate a crazy amount of leverage on his shots.

Fundora’s stoppage of fellow top contender Erickson Lubin this past April in a Fight of the Year-level battle, where he rose from the canvas to force the ninth-round stoppage, was a true breakthrough performance.

Looking back on the big Lubin win, though, Fundora seems somewhat nonplussed.

“I feel like I didn’t learn anything in my last fight, I just went out there and proved what I already knew to everyone,” asserted Fundora. “In that camp we were focused on showing everyone that I’m an elite fighter at 154 pounds.

“I never had a doubt in my mind during the Lubin fight. If I doubted myself, I would not be here right now. I had the composure to use my brain and take a knee during that fight. I got hit with a good punch and I was like, ‘let me take a little breather’, instead of getting hit like that again. I used my intelligence.”

The victory bagged Fundora the interim WBC junior middleweight title and undisputed regard as THE top challenger to unified champ Jermell Charlo.

“Everyone in the division has to watch out,” says Fundora. “Because I’m coming. I’m definitely not overlooking this opponent, but whenever I get that title chance, I’m ready for it.”

His love for the inside game seems to be hard-wired into his boxing brain as a Mexican-American fighter. He also has an appreciation for what blue-collar fight fans want.

“A lot of people who come out to these fights are working class and they spend their hard-earned money to go watch a good fight, and that’s what I want to deliver,” say Fundora. “I fight for the fans. Without the fans, boxing is not the same.”

On this particular card, adding to the intrigue will be the fact that Fundora will have his younger sister, the 20-year-old rising flyweight Gabriela, fighting on the undercard.

“We always train together, so preparing to fight on the same date didn’t require any adjustments or changes really…My sister is going to fight before me and I’ll be focused on my fight, even while watching her.

“This opportunity shows that the hard work me and my sister have been putting in, is really paying off. I’m already in a comfortable spot in my career, but it really shows how her hard work has gotten her to this platform.”

Although big things are happening for him and his fighting family, Fundora claims to be focused on the task at hand this Saturday, an opponent who is on a 12-0 run since an embarrassing first-round KO loss to welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. back in 2018.

“Ocampo is a big, Mexican 154-pounder,” observed Fundora. “He’s been at this weight for a while now and I know he’s coming in hungry. It’s his second chance on the big stage and I’m eager to see what he brings to the ring. I’m ready for him to bring his best. He’s going to be an aggressive fighter with a classic Mexican style. This is a perfect fight for Southern California. What more could you want?”

No matter who he faces, Fundora always puts on a show and has become one of the most entertaining fighters in the game. A peek into the Fundora Funhouse is a must if you’re a fan of aggression and high-octane fight intrigue.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com