The biggest win of Sebastian Fundora’s career was less about a learning experience and more about proving his worth.

The unbeaten 6’5 ½” junior middleweight saw his stock skyrocket following his ninth-round stoppage of top contender Erickson Lubin. Their terrific slugfest this past April 9in Las Vegas remains a leading candidate for 2022 Fight of the Year, with Fundora scoring an early knockdown and surviving one of his own to batter Lubin to the point of his corner electing to stop the fight after nine bruising rounds.

Fundora (19-0-1, 13KOs) entered the fight with the belief that he was ready to challenge for the junior middleweight championship. Beating a former title challenger such as Lubin (24-2, 17KOs) can only help him better prepare for the top level, though he gained so much more than that from the night.  

“Not that I learned stuff; I showed the fans what I was made of in my last fight,” Fundora noted during a recent virtual press conference to otherwise discuss his October 8 Showtime main event against Carlos Ocampo. “That’s what I felt like I did. We just had to display ourselves in front of the fans.

“That’s what I got from the last fight, that we showed we are really something in this division, that we’re serious about becoming world champion and we’re ready to do it.”

Fundora was forced to take a knee in round seven, coming after having dropped Lubin in the second round of their instant classic. The 24-year-old southpaw from Coachella, California was hurt and wisely dropped down to take an eight count and clear his head, before regaining control and going on to force the stoppage. Fundora was down 85-84 on two scorecards and even 85-85 on the third at the time that Kevin Cunningham, Lubin’s trainer decided the facial swelling and taxing punishment absorbed by his fighter was enough to end the fight.

Despite having to overcome an official knockdown and scorecard deficit, Fundora never doubted that the night would end with his long arm raised in victory.

“Besides the knockdown itself, I felt like that was a good round, it was all me, I felt,” Fundora said of the brief moment of adversity. “I got hit with a good punch and took a knee. I just needed to resolve everything.

“I got up and the round after that, I came back to my game.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox