In a different life, Stephen Fulton may have been a brawler.
The WBO junior lightweight titleholder from Philadelphia is best known for his pinpoint boxing ability inside the ring, but in a recent interview he let on that his natural instincts are to fight in close quarters. Philadelphia, of course, has a long pugilistic tradition of come-forward fighting.
Fulton will be going up against an avowed brawler in Brandon Figueroa, the WBC 122-pound beltholder, in a super bantamweight unification match November 27 at the Park Theater at Park MGM in Las Vegas.
“I think the Philly part do play a role in it because we don’t take no s-h-!-t from nobody,” Fulton told Ray Flores on Instagram Live. “We don’t take nothing from nobody. And that goes along with my mindset, like, I want to rumble."
Although Fulton (19-0, 18 KOs) has shown glimpses of trading on the inside, especially to the body, he says he has to be routinely reined in by his coaches. The name of the game, as the saying goes, is to hit and not get hit.
“After a while the boxing and everything be cool and slick but it gets boring sometimes,” Fulton said. “It gets boring a little bit. So I’m like I wanna get in the mix. I want to be in toe-to-toe [fights]. That’s how I prefer to fight, but my coaches be saving me from myself sometimes. I think that’s a good thing that I have good people like that around [me]. Everyone should have a good coach like that around to let him know to save some for yourself so you can still speak and talk to your kids later on.”
“I do get bored,” Fulton continued. “I feel like a lot of fighters get bored and want to engage. That’s where the fun is at, in the center of the ring. A lot of fighters may shy away from it sometimes, but as they get warm, they want to get back to that center of the ring. And that’s what I feel like I am.”
Fulton, who earned his 122-pound title by defeating Angelo Leo in January, did not say he will make it a phone-booth affair against Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs), but promised that his grit would be on full display.
“I feel like a lot of people are doubting me,” Fulton said. “They’re doubting my doggedness. I’ve got a lot to prove. I’m not overlooking Brandon. I don’t want anyone to think that Stephen is taking this fight lightly. Trust me, I’m not…I’d be a damn fool to think that this man is not good when he is here with me at the top.”