It was a fight Stephen Fulton hoped would take place nearly two years, though one which has proven to be worth the wait.
The unbeaten WBO junior featherweight titlist was among the most interested observers in the room when Brandon Figueroa registered a 7th round knockout of Luis Nery earlier this month at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The win netted Figueroa the WBC junior featherweight crown in addition to retaining his secondary WBA belt while setting up a title unification clash with Fulton due to take place September 11 on Showtime.
“Hell of a performance. I predicted it, like I said—Nery is a 118-pounder, he should have stayed back down there.
Fulton noted while in the ring with Figueroa at the end of the May 15 Showtime main event. “It didn’t surprise me at all. I know he would fight the way he fought. As you can see, he gets hit a lot.
“I’m just ready for my time. This is my time, I’ve been waiting for this moment.”
Philadelphia’s Fulton did his part earlier in the year, soundly outpointing previously unbeaten Angelo Leo to win the WBO title this past January in Uncasville, Connecticut. The win came five months after the two were originally due to fight, only for Fulton to have to withdraw from their Showtime headliner last August 1 after testing positive for COVID.
Long before that, Fulton appeared on the undercard of an August 2019 local showcase for Figueroa (22-0-1, 17KOs) in Edinburg, Texas, just minutes from his Weslaco hometown. Both boxers scored knockout wins that night, Fulton stopping unbeaten Isaac Avelar in the 5th round while Figueroa halted Argentina’s Javier Chacon in the 4th round of their FS1-televised main event. A post-fight interview featuring both in the ring hinted at a future collision, though talks of such a fight never resurfaced until Showtime announced its spring and summer schedule.
There is no resentment over having to play the waiting game; rather, there is genuine excitement of the thought of appearing in the hotly anticipated unification clash.
“We’re gonna put on a hell of a performance,” vows Fulton. “Once again, congratulations to Figueroa, the new WBC/WBA champ. I got the WBO and I’m coming.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox