“I’ve gotten stronger, smarter and I’ve matured a lot,” Sebastian Fundora tells Bad Left Hook from his home in Coachella, Calif., a day before travelling to Las Vegas for a WBC Interim junior middleweight title fight against Erickson Lubin this weekend.
And it’s noticeable. We first spoke at the back-end of 2019 when Fundora was only known for his towering height and phenomenal ability to make 154 lbs comfortably, but now, the 24-year-old is a serious contender in the division.
“I feel like the hard work is paying off,” he continued. “Everyone is starting to notice what we are doing, it’s clear we are doing the right thing. I live the life; I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke or anything. We train smart and are becoming wiser to the game.”
Fundora (18-0-1, 12 KO) speaks with pride as he references his family unit, headed up by father and trainer Freddy, as the reason he has been able to stay grounded.
“They keep me humble,” he explains. “The first thing I will do when I get back from a fight is clean the dishes for my mother – I get no special treatment around here. We are all fighters, after all.
“I am just a cog in the family wheel. Everybody has their own part and everyone wears their own hat. I wouldn’t be where I was if it wasn’t for my family.”
Erickson Lubin (24-1, 17 KO) stands in the way of Fundora and the chance to become mandatory for the WBC title, but Fundora doesn’t believe that the “Hammer” is too much of a step up in class to the opposition he has faced across his last five fights.
“I’m really not sure if he is better than any of the other contenders I have beaten,” he admits. “[Sergio] Garcia was a really tough guy with a 33-0 record before fighting me, [Jorge] Cota has been in there with champions, and [Nathaniel] Gallimore was tough, too. My last five fights have been real tough fights; this one is no different.”
In 2017, Jermell Charlo stopped Erickson Lubin in just two minutes and 41 seconds of their title fight, and Fundora believes this stoppage still weighs on the mind of his opponent.
“It’s what Lubin is known for in boxing,” he continued. “I’m sure that early knockout will haunt him for the rest of his career. But I am not that bothered, I just need to do what I do and I’m sure we will be able to get the result.”
Lubin’s coach, Kevin Cunningham, has suggested his fighter is willing and ready to meet the opposition in the middle of the ring on Saturday, but Fundora doesn’t think this would be a wise decision.
“Talk is cheap,” he smirked. “If he’s willing to meet me in the middle of the ring then that’s my game. I don’t know whether he’s going to want to come into the spider’s web, though. I don’t believe anyone in this division can keep up with my pace and my punch output.”
Fundora has gotten plenty of southpaw sparring for Saturday’s contest and feels the strongest he’s ever felt in a camp. He admits his body is still changing and growing, but he has been able to maintain his weight whilst adding strength onto his sizeable frame.
Fundora has never been knocked down as a professional or been put in any serious trouble, despite the number of fighters that seem adamant they will be able to chop him to the body with ease.
He smiles as I ask him whether he’s looking forward to getting wet in deeper waters and feeling the heat of the division’s bigger punchers.
“That’s what I am in the game for. If I am scared of getting hit then I shouldn’t be in boxing,” he concludes. “And as for feeling the heat of my opposition, I am the heat in this division.”