The path to boxing stardom is narrow. Dreams of big wins and belts are accompanied by dreams of financial rewards. The first two are easier to come by but the last gets tougher, especially as the fighters get smaller in the US market.

Angelo Leo got his first belt the last time he got in the ring. A relatively deep and fresh crop of talent in their 20s is coming of age at Jr. featherweight.

As their clashes unfold, and increase, if they deliver the goods in the ring together the pot for all will only grow bigger. Rising tides and all that. We’re at the beginning of something potentially special.

Will Stephen Fulton start by ending the reign of Leo before it really begins?      

Let’s get into it.

Stats and Stakes

Angelo Leo

Age: 26

Current Titles: WBO Jr. Featherweight (2019-Present, 1 Defense)

Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’6   

Weight: 121 ¼ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Record: 20-0, 9 KO

Press Rankings: #3 (BoxRec), #6 (TBRB, Ring), #10 (ESPN. Boxing News)

Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0

Last Five Opponents: 102-25-3 (.796)

Notable Outcomes, TBRB and/or Ring Rated Foes: None

Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: None


Stephen Fulton

Age: 26

Title/Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’6 ½  

Weight: 122 lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Record: 18-0, 8 KO

Press Rankings: #4 (BoxRec), #8 (ESPN), #9 (Boxing News), #10 (TBRB, Ring)

Record in Major Title Fights: 1st Title Opportunity

Last Five Opponents: 134-54-3 (.709)

Notable Outcomes, TBRB and/or Ring Rated Foes: None

Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Paulus Ambunda UD12

The Pick: As part of an intriguing triple header focused on young rising talents, Showtime (Saturday, 9 PM EST) is leading with the sort of fight that might not just be part of the beginning of an era at Jr. featherweight. These are, belt or not, still largely untested talents just cutting their teeth. In a best case, we might see the seeds of a rivalry that lasts more than a night.

The styles clash well.

Fulton appears to have an edge in quickness and elusiveness. In his last fight, Leo showed off his schooling in combating at least the former, using a volume body attack and smart uppercuts to take over the action. Leo has displayed the ability to box off the front and back foot, has good balance, and slips shots well. However, Fulton’s quicker feet and inclinations to box likely force more aggression in this one.

If Fulton can avoid exchanges and protect the body, he defuses one of Leo’s best assets. Fulton has at times been willing to work off the ropes. Containing those exchanges and how well he gets out may determine how much momentum Leo can build. Leo doesn’t have a lot of knockouts but seems strong in the ring. The guess is Fulton is as well and this is going to last a while.

We might not know just what kind of fight we have here until the midway point. Fulton could build an early lead. If Leo rebounds to make it close by then, it could be anyone’s fight down the stretch. A draw isn’t out of the question but with so many things still to learn about both fighters, the one who looks more naturally talented is probably the safer bet. The pick is Fulton by competitive decision.  

Rold Picks 2021: 1-0

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at