Sebastian Fundora has the right idea.
In an era where top contenders are willing to sacrifice ring activity and momentum just to wait out a title shot, the unbeaten 24-year-old has no desire to sit on his lead. While he presently serves as the WBC mandatory challenger and interim junior middleweight titlist for undisputed champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19KOs), Fundora realizes it’s a deep queue with four such fighters guaranteed a shot at the division’s top prize.
The current rotation likely has Fundora (19-0-1, 13KOs) third in line—second, at best—for a shot at Charlo. There are no worries on his end as long as promoter Sampson Lewkowicz and the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) team continue to keep him active. The waiting period begins with a scheduled 12-round interim title defense against Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo, atop an October 8 Showtime tripleheader from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
“I’m just going to focus on my career,” Fundora told BoxingScene.com during a recent virtual press conference to discuss his fight with Ocampo. “I’m not going to focus on what the champion’s doing. Once the opportunity presents itself, I’m going to take that chance.
“But right now, I’m just gonna focus on my career. We have Carlos Ocampo and then if not next against the champion, we’ll fight someone else. If I can fight up to three times a year, that’s fine. But we want to keep fighting and stay busy so when the challenge presents itself, we can take it no problem.”
Fundora surged to the top of the contender queue following a fourth-round knockout of Jorge Cota last May 1, also at Dignity Health Sports Park.
It came prior to Charlo’s twelve-round draw with then-unbeaten WBO titlist Brian Castano in their first fight for the undisputed championship last July 17 in San Antonio. Charlo bested Castano via tenth-round knockout in their May 14 rematch at Dignity Health, by which point the 6’5 ½” Fundora secured the interim title following a ninth-round stoppage of fellow top contender Erickson Lubin in a leading Fight of the Year candidate this past April 9 in Las Vegas.
Charlo is next due to defend his lineal/WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO/Ring championship against Australia’s Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15KOs), who is the WBO mandatory. Their bout is targeted for next January 28 though not yet formally announced by PBC or TGB Promotions. After that, Bakhram Murtazaliev has a signed agreement stating he is still owed his title shot as IBF mandatory, while Israil Madrimov is owed a title shot through the WBA.
Politically, Fundora is in a favorable position to force a title shot as he wishes. For now, he’s content with the knowledge that the opportunity is waiting in the wings, no matter when it materializes.
“We got the ranking we needed. We got what we wanted from (the win over Lubin),” pointed out Fundora. “I want to fight for the title. I think I deserve that. I’m the WBC mandatory.
“Of course, I have to get through Ocampo first. I have to get through this challenge. After that, I want to fight for the title myself.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox