Take one glance at 6-foot-6 Sebastian Fundora in a boxing ring and it doesn’t take a fight aficionado to realize his unique height and reach advantages ought to pay dividends versus shorter foes.
Fundora, a full eight inches taller than the average pugilist in the 154-pound division, opened and closed his unanimous decision win over Mexican Carlos Ocampo on Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park making good use of those physical gifts.
And in the middle portion of the 12-round contest, the lanky 24-year-old super welterweight also showed a comfort with fisticuffs in close quarters that should serve him well as he moves up the food chain.
By scores 117-111, 118-110 and 119-109, Fundora, fighting out of the Coachella Valley, retained the interim WBC title and laid claim to a world title shot against the winner of the bout between Jermell Charlo and Tim Tszyu on Jan. 28.
Headlining his first televised main event as the “A Side,” Fundora arrived at the arena by 1:30 p.m. to cheer on his younger sister, Gabriel. Competing on a card together for the first time was just another day in the Fundora family’s love affair with boxing.
Hours before entering the ring opposite Ocampo, Sebastian watched under a sunny sky as Gabriela, nicknamed “Sweet Poison,” improved her record 9-0 with a unanimous decision (99-91, 99-91, 98-92) over flyweight Naomi Reyes (9-2).
“She wants to become a champion, just like me,” Sebastian said. I’m pretty sure she wants to be a multi-divisional champ as well. That’s what I want to do. We’ll see what the future holds for us.”
Before it was his turn to box, a pair of main card bouts on Showtime produced decisive outcomes.
Fernando Martinez removed any lingering doubts after his upset of long-reigning Filipino junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas in February. For the second consecutive meeting, Martinez, 31, pressured and punched his way through the 30-year-old Ancjas, who, prior to their clash earlier this year, had nine straight defenses at 115 pounds.
After cramping and having no other option but to throw down toe-to-toe, Anacajas (33-3-2, 22 KO) promised a more mobile and fit version of himself in the rematch. He showed signs of that early, but Martinez denied his challenger the room he needed to score with jabs or evade the champion’s flurried attacks.
Martinez (15-0, 8 KO) dominated with power strikes, outlanding Ancajas 222 to 168 while limiting the Filipino to 17 jabs. Judges at ringside were unanimous for Martinez (119-109, 118-110, 118-110), prompting the now-defending champion to declare his intentions of going after Nicaraguan great Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and anyone else near his division.
Then Carlos Adames collected the interim WBC world middleweight title in devastating fashion with a third round stoppage of Juan Macias Montiel.
Slow out of the gate, the crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park booed when the pair of 28-year-old 160-pound fighters failed to duplicate the exchanges they saw during Martinez-Ancajas. However Adames, out of the Dominican Republic, satisfied the audience by the third round.
Adames (22-1, 17 KO) repeatedly popped Montiel with crushing strikes, initiating the finishing sequence when a left straight preceded a sweat-flopping right hook that moved the Mexican back to the ropes.
While Adames swarmed, referee Ray Corona stepped in to save Montiel (23-6-2, 23 KO), calling a halt to the action at the 2:37 mark of Round 3.
Attention turned to the main event and Fundora felt jitters walking out to the ring, which was situated in the middle of what has become hallowed boxing grounds.
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Ocampo had won 12 straight bouts coming into Saturday’s contest after suffering an opening-round knockout to Errol Spence Jr. at 147 pounds in 2018.
“I figured with this fight he was going to be a tough guy,” Fundora said. “All the crap that everyone was talking about him — the first round knockout — I knew he could come with a big heart because he had something to prove.”
Ocampo, 26, looked strong early while Fundora tested him from the outside. Ducking underneath jabs, the Mexican launched overhand lefts that reached the long-limbed interim champion. As action moved to Round 4, Fundora, known as “The Towering Inferno,” revised his approach until the championship rounds.
Fundora (20-0-1, 13 KO) returned to creating space versus a fatiguing Ocampo (34-2, 22 KO).
“I really felt whenever I wanted to go inside I went inside,” Fundora said. “Whenever I wanted to go outside I boxed outside. Now it’s not about what the opponent is going to do, it’s what I want to do.”