By: Sean Crose
The undefeated, 22-0-1, 24 year old WBC super bantamweight champion Brandon Figueroa faced the undefeated 27 year old, 19-0 WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton Saturday night at the Park Theater in Las Vegas. The first round of the scheduled 12 round title unifier saw Fulton looking sharp while the considerably taller Figueroa tried getting in on his man. Figueroa seemed to be channeling his inner Klitschko in the second by holding on a regular basis. Still, he found his range and started to land well at the end of the chapter.
The third round was fought in tight and was intense. Figueroa was able to swing away, but Fulton showed he could swing and land himself. The fight remained an action affair in the fourth, with both men teeing off while Fulton was on the ropes. The fifth was likewise an exciting round. Fulton was doing an excellent job of fighting off the ropes. The sixth saw some excellent old school inside fighting. It looked to be only a matter of time before both men became exhausted.
The furious pace continued through the seventh. Things started to slow just a bit in the eighth – though just a bit – until an explosive last few seconds. By the ninth, one simply had to marvel at the work ethic of the two combatants. One and on they went, seemingly never resting while hitting and getting hit regularly.
By the time the fight entered the championship rounds, it was difficult to see how the judges might score it. Fulton had been landing with laser like precision, but Figueroa’s good moments consisted of some very impressive looking punches. By the final minute of the round, Figueroa hurt his man. Fulton was game, though, and determined not to let the moment take him down. He ended up fighting his way through the round. The man looked like he might be starting to feel fatigued, however.
Fulton put his jab to good use in the eleventh. It was a wise strategy, as it gave him space and kept Figueroa from landing his power shots. The twelfth and final round had Figueroa charging forward at the bell. He was determined to have the fight end as it had mostly been fought – in high octane fashion. Fulton, however, still had the ability to land clearly. What’s more, Fulton resumed trying to distance himself from his hard hitting opponent – when he could. Ultimately, though, the final seconds were passed in close range, with each fighter firing away. It was a terrific end to an unforgettable battle.
Fulton ended up getting the judges’ nod by majority decision. Sadly, Figueroa interrupted Fulton’s post fight interview in a moment of poor sportsmanship.