Stephen Fulton has been in Brandon Figueroa’s position.
Fulton pulled out of his WBO junior featherweight title fight against Angelo Leo due to COVID-19 just three days before they were supposed to square off for that then-vacant championship in August 2020. The Philadelphia native therefore had a unique understanding of how Figueroa felt when he withdrew from their 122-pound title unification fight 11 days before it was scheduled to take place on September 18th in Las Vegas.
“It was a little disappointing, but that’s somebody’s health, somebody’s life, too,” Fulton told BoxingScene.com. “So, I had to understand it from a different point of view. [Having COVID-19] made me understand it more and a lot of people are dying from it. Our health is more important than anything first, so that’s the first thing I understood. That’s why I wasn’t mad. I was just disappointed that I couldn’t fight.”
The 12-round bout between Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, and Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) was rescheduled for November 27, the Saturday night after Thanksgiving Day. Their fight for Figueroa’s WBC super bantamweight championship and Fulton’s WBO belt will take place at Park MGM’s Park Theater, the same venue at which they were supposed to headline a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader last month.
Fulton had hoped Figueroa’s bout with COVID-19 would be brief, so that their fight could be rearranged for October 2. Fulton, whose fight with Leo was postponed for 5½ months, realized, though, that quickly re-booking their fight was unlikely.
“At first, it was like, ‘Let’s see how fast we can get it [rescheduled],’ ” Fulton said. “But I already understand because of the caliber of the fight, the money on everyone’s end, I knew it wasn’t gonna happen two weeks later. So, I had already prepared myself for the month or two-month [postponement], actually. I just don’t want him to make no excuses when it’s time. But I don’t feel it’ll be postponed again.”
The 27-year-old Fulton took a week off from training once he learned that their fight was postponed. He took steps to avoid overtraining for a fight that remains more than six weeks away.
“I needed that little break from the gym,” Fulton said. “You don’t wanna overtrain, so the more active you are, the more you’re just getting through the workouts and tightening up little things. Then, as we get a little closer, then we can go a little bit harder and then start to bring it back down, getting ready for the fight, getting ready to perform.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.