Stephen Fulton becomes WBO Super Bantamweight Champion
In his first world title attempt, Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton (19-0, 8 KO’s) successfully snagged the WBO world super bantamweight title. Fulton toppled determined former champion Angelo “El Chinito” Leo (20-1, 9 KO’s) by way of unanimous decision to do so. Cool Boy Steph and Leo were original supposed to fight well back in 2020. Regrettably, Fulton would go on to contract COVID-19 and the prizefight was dismantled as a result. So rather than Fulton, El Chinito went on to fight Tremaine “The Mighty Midget” Williams for the then vacant WBO strap.
After recovering from the virus, Team Fulton was able to easily contract a new fight with the Mayweather Promotions fighter. Ahead of their clash, there was remarkably little trash talk. Each fighter appeared to have a great deal of respect for the other and they behaved that way throughout the build-up. When needled by media to know if he was looking for the stoppage, Fulton insisted he only wanted to win in style. When all was said and done, that is exactly what transpired.
COMING OUT PARTY
Right from the clang of the opening bell, Fulton and Leo went to educated war. Cool Boy was set up behind his jab, whereas El Chinito savaged the body. The first half of the round was carried by Fulton’s jab. However, in the second half, Leo landed a number of crisp head-snapping jabs and a solid overhand right. To his chagrin though, an accidental headbutt would leave Leo heading to his stool with a cut over his left eye.
The second round was a hard-to-judge, high paced, two-way body bruising affair contested in the phonebooth. With the coming of the third, Cool Boy changed tactics and sought to move and dictate distance. This alteration worked like a charm for the first half of the period. Although, the second half was more rugged warfare in the trenches. Over the next few rounds, the action remained competitive, but controlled by Fulton.
BEGINNING OF THE END
El Chinito never ceased giving as good as he got in terms of ferocity. Still, Fulton was clearly landing more punches overall. With the coming of the eighth round, Leo began showing the first inkling that he could be wilted. Here, his punch output dropped a bit and he was consistently bulled around the ring for large portions of time.
The closing rounds continued to be characterized by gritty action delivered in close quarters. Fulton clearly was the superior fighter on the outside, but was unable to keep El Chinito suspended in that no-man’s land. During the final round, however, Fulton was able to box very well. For the first time in probably the entire fight, Cool Boy was able to keep the fight on the outside. In doing so, he clearly won the final period. When the judges’ tallies were read, Fulton won by three very wide scorecards.
By: Bakari Simpson