Sebastián Fundora has the right idea.
In an era where top contenders are willing to sacrifice in-ring activity and momentum just to hope for a title shot, the undefeated 24-year-old doesn’t want to sit on his lead. While he currently serves as the WBC mandatory challenger and interim junior middleweight champion to undisputed champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19KOs), Fundora realizes it’s a long tail with four of those fighters guaranteed once. shot at the division jackpot.
The current rotation likely has Fundora (19-0-1, 13KOs) third in line, second, at best, for a shot at Charlo. There are no worries on his part as long as promoter Sampson Lewkowicz and the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) team continue to keep him active. The waiting period begins with a scheduled 12-round interim title defense against Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo, atop a Showtime tripleheader on October 8 from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
“I’m just going to focus on my career,” Fundora told BoxingScene.com during a recent virtual press conference to discuss his fight with Ocampo. “I am not going to focus on what the champion is doing. Once the opportunity presents itself, I will take advantage of that opportunity.
“But right now, I will just focus on my career. We have Carlos Ocampo and then if he is not next against the champion, we will fight someone else. If I can fight up to three times a year, that’s fine. But we want to keep fighting and keep busy so that when the challenge comes, we can accept it without problems.”
Fundora rose to the top of the contenders’ ranks following a fourth-round knockout of Jorge Cota on May 1, also at Dignity Health Sports Park.
It came before Charlo’s twelve-round draw with then-undefeated WBO champion Brian Castano in their first fight for the undisputed championship last July 17 in San Antonio. Charlo outpointed Castaño by 10th-round knockout in their May 14 rematch at Dignity Health, at which point the 6’5 ½” Fundora clinched the interim title after a ninth-round knockout of fellow top contender Erickson. Lubin in a leading fight of the year. candidate on April 9 in Las Vegas.
Charlo is next to defend his lineal/WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO/Ring championship against Australian Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15KOs), who is the WBO mandatory. His fight is scheduled for next January 28, although it has not yet been formally announced by PBC or TGB Promotions. After that, Bakhram Murtazaliev has a signed agreement stating that he is still due his title shot as an IBF mandatory, while Israil Madrimov is due a title shot via the WBA.
Politically, Fundora is in a favorable position to force a title shot like he wants. For now, he’s content in the knowledge that opportunity is waiting in the wings, no matter when it materializes.
“We got the ranking we needed. We got what we wanted from (the win over Lubin),” Fundora said. “I want to fight for the title. I think I deserve it. I am the mandatory WBC.
“Of course, first I have to go through Ocampo. I have to overcome this challenge. After that, I want to fight for the title myself.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox