When Sebastian Fundora first caught boxing fans’ eyes, it was as a physical oddity. The Coachella, California native was a rail-thin, 6-foot-6 super welterweight with an 80-inch reach. To put things in perspective, 5-foot-11 and above is considered tall in the 154 lb. division. His reach, meanwhile, exceeds that of many heavyweights, including the 78-inch reach of 3-belt heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk.
The buzz around Fundora was always the same in the beginning– look at this crazy-tall, crazy-skinny kid.
But fans who came for the oddity, were soon enough drawn into the fight. Fundora would gradually win over the gawkers with a non-stop, all-action fan-friendly style and a humble demeanor that belied a fierce warrior’s heart.
And now, with a growing resume and the rankings placement to prove it (as well as the interim WBC super welterweight title), the 25-year-old southpaw battler is regarded as a “for real” player in his division. This Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, Fundora will be headlining a Showtime card, facing the rugged Brian Mendoza in what appears to be a stay busy fight until a world title shot materializes.
Atop the super welterweight division at the moment is 4-belt unified world champ Jermell Charlo, who is slated to defend his top dog status against Australian second generation star Tim Tszyu at some point later this year. After that, though, it would be a crime if Fundora didn’t get a crack at the winner– provided he wins this Saturday, of course.
At the recent virtual press conference to hype his Showtime clash, the top contender talked about his seemingly perpetual underdog status and his level of preparedness for his bout with Mendoza.
“I feel like I’ve been proving myself over and over again,” Fundora told media. “We’re waiting for our shot to fight for the title. They keep putting guys in front of me who they say will knock me out or expose me, but I keep proving them wrong.
“Camp has been really good for me. We’ve been training hard and getting ready for another exciting fight in Carson. Just expect fireworks. I’m bringing my best, so I hope he brings his best.
“I’m always ready to go toe-to-toe. Everyone I fought has been strong guys and Mendoza is another. We’re just going to go for the win like always.
“This fight is as important as every other fight before. Mendoza is a contender as well and we’re not looking at him lightly. We have to get past Mendoza if we want to even think of fighting for the championship.
“Mendoza had a great performance in his last fight [stopping former 2-belt super welterweight champ Jeison Rosario] and he looked strong. I didn’t see anything different from him really. We knew he was strong.
“We’re going to have to see what he brings on April 8. I have to prove myself again. We both have chips on our shoulders. We want to become champions and we have to win on April 8 to do so.
“I feel like some people are trying to skip me in order to fight for the title, but I’m remaining patient and staying focused on this fight. I just have to keep moving forward while everything else gets dealt with.
“We never pick anybody, I just get the assignment and go for it. Mendoza is coming off a big win and we said ‘heck yeah’ to the fight. It’s a good fight for the fans and a good fight for us.
“Mendoza is gonna find out that I’m the next world champion at super welterweight.”
Sebastian Fundora will get a chance this Saturday to reaffirm his status as a real player in the 154 lb. division. It’s a sure thing that he’ll come, guns blazing, to prove himself.