Stephen Fulton Defeats Brandon Figueroa in an Instant Classic
At the Park Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada, WBC world junior featherweight champion Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa and WBO world junior featherweight champion Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton put their titles on the line in a 122-pound unification showdown. It was one of the more anticipated matches for hardcore observers of the sport. Heading into the fight, both men had predicted the match would not go the distance.
Figueroa is appropriately nicknamed “Heartbreaker”, given his fighting style. The aggressive 24-year-old is rough, rugged, and physical. If you don’t have a tough ticker and are not in shape, he will break you down and beat you up.
He faced a Fulton who is more of an all-around fighter. The 27-year-old is more than an adequate craftsman. However, he’s shown the willingness to fight in close range and has underrated inside boxing skills.
SHAPING UP TO BE A SPECIAL ONE
Intense was the action from the get-go. Fulton tried to keep the fight on the outside and make it a match of skills. But he was in the ring against a man who is an expert at making his opponent fight his fight. That was what Figueroa did in this one. He charged forward, bullying his way in with an emphasis on getting inside.
Fulton refused to relent and more than held his own up close. He was able to land with beautiful counter hooks and uppercuts. As early as round three, the Vegas crowd was on its feet. This fight was living up to the billing!
GIVING THEIR ALL
It became a question of what did you prefer. Did you favor the precision and accuracy of Fulton or the relentless pressure and work rate of Figueroa? The back-and-forth, ebb and flow continued through the middle rounds. Whenever Fulton would connect with a volley of combinations to the head and body, Figueroa responded. The WBC champ marched through the assault like an M4 Sherman Tank.
Round ten was pure savagery. Fulton had the advantage early but was stunned by a right-hand/left hook combination near the end of the round. Forget a cute match of wits. On the contrary, this was warfare and a pure battle of wills. The crowd roared their appreciation at the final bell. Both men left it all in the ring.
CAN WE HAVE MORE?
Ultimately, the judges scored the fight in favor of Fulton by majority decision (114-114, 116-112×2). This reporter scored the fight 115-113 for Figueroa, but it could’ve gone either way. During the post-fight, both men stood face-to-face arguing about who won. They also said they were willing to fight again. But Figueroa then declared that this is his last fight at 122, and he plans on moving up to the featherweight division. For the sport’s sake, here’s hoping we can see Fulton-Figueroa II in 2022.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.