Sebastian Fundora won the WBC interim super welterweight title in epic fashion nearly a year ago.
As his second fight nears since Fundora’s spectacular slugfest with Erickson Lubin last April 9, Fundora cannot say with any certainty whether a victory over a resurgent Brian Mendoza on April 8 will ensure that he’ll receive his title shot next. For even a mature, patient prizefighter like Fundora, the waiting game has become somewhat annoying.
“You know, I’d like to believe that, but I don’t even know,” Fundora said during a virtual press conference Monday. “I don’t even know, so we’ll see what’s next after Mendoza. But right now, Brian Mendoza’s still in front of us, so we’re gonna focus on that.”
Fundora (20-0-1, 13 KOs) acknowledged that Mendoza (21-2, 15 KOs) is a dangerous opponent, not some huge underdog to keep him busy while he awaits the winner of the Jermell Charlo-Tim Tszyu fight that has yet to be rescheduled.
Mendoza impressively upset former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champ Jeison Rosario in his last fight, which Showtime televised November 5 from The Armory in Minneapolis. The Albuquerque native knocked Rosario to the canvas twice, stopped Rosario in the fifth round and caused Rosario to retire at just 27 years old in the immediate aftermath of their fight.
Mendoza demolished the Dominican Republic’s Rosario (23-4-1, 17 KOs) despite that he took their fight on approximately 10 days’ notice. Rosario was scheduled to box Cuban southpaw Yoelvis Gomez (6-0, 5 KOs), who suffered a hand injury while training.
The 25-year-old Fundora, of Coachella, California, still didn’t hesitate when Mendoza was proposed as his opponent. The 6-foot-6 southpaw wants to remain as active as possible, so that he can stay sharp while he awaits his shot at all four 154-pound championships.
“Honestly, it hasn’t been a problem,” Fundora said. “I feel like with how they have their system, I guess, like if you become a [mandatory] contender first, you gotta fight for the belt first. So, I think Tim became the WBO [mandatory] contender first, so that didn’t really bother me. But, you know, the WBC ordered a fight with us and [Tony] Harrison, and that didn’t happen.
“So, now like, I feel like everybody’s trying to almost skip me, and that’s kind of bothering me. But you know what? My dad tells me to remain patient. You know, we have a tough out with Mendoza. We’re focused on that, of course. You know, and we’re just gonna keep moving forward as everything’s going, I guess.”
Australia’s Tszyu (22-0, 16 KOs) solidified his spot as Charlo’s next opponent by dropping and stopping Detroit’s Harrison (29-4-1, 21 KOs) in the ninth round of their fight for the WBO interim junior middleweight championship March 12 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. Houston’s Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) was scheduled to defend his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts versus Tszyu on January 28 in Las Vegas, but their fight was canceled once Charlo fractured two bones in his left hand while sparring a few days before Christmas.
Fundora and Mendoza will headline a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader April 8 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Fundora defeated Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo (34-2, 22 KOs) by unanimous decision in his last fight, a 12-rounder Showtime broadcast October 8 from Dignity Health Sports Park.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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