On a busy night of boxing, Sebastian Fundora and Erickson Lubin stole the show with a dramatic and brutal affair that came to an end following the 9th round when Lubin’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham, called a stop to the contest after deciding his fighter had taken too much punishment.
With the TKO, Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KOs) remained undefeated and earned the WBC junior middleweight interim belt. He’ll also now have a mandatory shot at the winner of the May 14 undisputed rematch between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño. All three judges (77-75, 76-74, 76-74) had Lubin (24-2, 17 KOs) ahead on the cards at the time of the stoppage.
“I think this was probably my best performance ever. It was a back-and-forth fight. He really brought his hammer, but I decided to bring my drill,” Fundora said after the fight. “The uppercut is my lucky punch. I’m here in Vegas, so I feel a little lucky, and that’s my lucky punch. It lands most of the time with everybody. Southpaw, right hand, it doesn’t matter. Once I find that, I feel like the job’s done.”
The action got started in earnest in the second round, as Fundora landed his whip-like uppercuts at will against Lubin, who was willing to stand and trade with the much bigger man. With just a few seconds left in the round, Fundora’s work paid off when he rocked Lubin with a right uppercut and sent him straight to the canvas.
Lubin, though, did not seem all that fazed and quickly bounced back in the following rounds to take control of the fight. With neither fighter paying much attention to defense, Lubin began landing some crisp shots to both the body and the head. His combination of power and accuracy in those middle rounds was impressive, and it was a major reason why the judges had him winning on the cards.
So, too, was his stunning knockdown in the seventh round. Fundora was having his way for the majority of those three minutes, landing an array of uppercuts that appeared to be wearing Lubin down. Somehow, Lubin summoned the strength to launch a counterattack of his own and overwhelmed Fundora with a barrage of punches that sent the “Towering Inferno” to the ground for the first time in his career.
“I got hit with a good punch and I didn’t feel like I needed to get hit again so I took a knee to get a little breather in and I recovered. I intentionally took a knee,” Fundora said. “I knew I had to take a knee because if I kept getting hit like that it wouldn’t be smart for me and I wouldn’t be able to recollect myself.”
Ultimately, however, that proved to be Lubin’s last stand. He was barely throwing punches over the final two rounds, and continued to eat uppercuts that worsened his already badly swollen face. Fundora landed 233 of 541 power shots over the course of the fight, and the relentless attack proved too much for the brave Lubin.
“I see Charlo winning the fight against Castano,” Fundora said. “I feel like he’ll be too strong for Castano the second time. If Castano wins, that’s great too. I just want to go after all of them. This is the interim belt so I want the world champion title. I want the real deal.”