Boxer Stephen Fulton Jr. is in more control than ever. Like an NFL team with a first-round bye, he knows his opponent will be one of two fighters, and now he waits.
Brandon Figueroa and Luis Nery are fighting Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., for the WBC super- bantamweight championship. Fulton, the WBO super-bantamweight champion, will attend the match and box the winner in a unification bout on Sept. 11.
“It’s only a matter of time now,” Fulton said.
This isn’t the first time Fulton knows he’ll be fighting the winner of a championship fight. Last August, he was scheduled to fight Angelo Leo before a positive COVID test postponed his title shot. Leo won against Tramaine Williams, and Fulton watched. He waited an extra five months before becoming Philly’s only current boxing champion.
“I learned a lot on how to deal with my patience in those times when I felt like I needed to fight right away,” Fulton said.
Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) will have a close look at his next opponent. He’ll be sitting in the front row Saturday and do some TV work before and after the fight on Showtime.
He’s seen Figueroa (21-0, 16 KOs) fight but not Nery (31-0, 24 KOs).
“I’m not impressed at all with Brandon [Figueroa] because I see a lot I can capitalize on and a lot of mistakes he makes,” Fulton said.
When you become champion, a target is placed on your back, and many boxers want their bull’s-eye moment. Figueroa and Nery are two of the best super bantamweights. They know the challenge that they have with each other but also that the fight with Fulton is lurking.
“I’m only focused on Brandon Figueroa,” Nery said. “After that fight, I’ll be ready for Stephen Fulton Jr. Once I beat him, too, he can tell me how my power feels at this weight.”
Fulton is known for not holding back his thoughts on other boxers’ skills, so don’t think Figueroa hasn’t heard those jabs.
“Fulton is the fight I’ve been wanting,” Figueroa said. “I know he’s been talking a lot. First of all, I need to get through Luis Nery. I just can’t wait for these big fights and these big names. I’ve been trying to fight Fulton for a while, and now it’s going to be made if everything goes well Saturday night.”