Angelo Leo: Stephen Fulton has flaws I can exploit, I know I’ll come out with the victory
Last August, Angelo Leo had been scheduled to face Stephen Fulton for the vacant WBO junior featherweight title. However, just days before their clash, Fulton was quarantined when he and two team members tested positive for COVID-19.
Leo went on to claim the title by beating late substitute Tremaine Williams. It was a hugely significant moment, not just for his career but for his life.
“I have more respect in the boxing game,” Leo (20-0, 9 knockouts) told The Ring. “People now recognize me as a world champion. It’s different but not that different considering Covid. You can’t really take in the full experience.
“I went back to Albuquerque to visit friends and family, but it’s not until recently they declared Angelo Leo Day as January 20. Now I have my own day in my own city. I’m really honored to be a part of that because that’s the city I grew up in and the city I was inspired to become a world champion in. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to my city. I’m very blessed and thankful for that.”
Now it’s time for Leo to return to boxing and he’ll make the first defense of his title against Fulton on Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut on Showtime Championship Boxing at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.
Leo, who is rated No. 6 by The Ring at 122 pounds, is ready to face his rival, who currently sits at No. 10.
“I’ve known I was going to fight Fulton for almost a year now,” said Leo. “I’ve been preparing for him for a while. Now that it has finally come, everything we have worked on has come more naturally to me.
“It’s going to be a great match up. It’s what boxing needs: You’ve got two undefeated fighters, two fighters in their prime with similar records. What more can you ask for? All the way around, on paper, it looks like a great fight. But deep down inside, I know I’ll come out with the victory.”
Leo respects Fulton but also sees areas that he can take advantage of in the skilled Philadelphia native’s game.
“He has good judgement of distance, he likes to control his distance, he has a good jab and good footwork,” acknowledged the 26-year-old Leo, who now lives in Las Vegas.
“There’s a few flaws, based on what I’ve seen on him in previous fights. He is slick at times, but he does get hit. He has flaws I can exploit, and on the 23rd you guys will see ’em.”
Leo is unconcerned that Fulton will be the slight pre-fight betting favorite.
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I’ve been an underdog before. For my last fight I was an underdog as well. That’s not what I should be focused on, my focus is on getting the ‘W.’”
While not advocating betting, Leo, playfully, is telling his supporters there is value in placing a wager on him.
“I just throw it out there to the fans,” he laughed. “If there’s an opportunity to make some money, why not?”
Leo feels a victory over Fulton will be extremely significant.
“A win over Fulton, that’s a big win,” he said. “[Fulton’s] undefeated, a lot of people know who he is, a lot of people know who I am. That’ll pretty much jump start my path to superstardom. Eventually I would like to unify with one of the world champions at the weight. But right now, I’ll focus on Fulton and getting past Fulton first.”
Fulton turned professional in 2014, and his early promise was covered in a New Faces feature that appeared on this website. He has since gone on to score wins over eight previously unbeaten fighters, including Adam Lopez, Isaac Avelar and Arnold Khegai, taking his record to 18-0 (8 KOs).
The Showtime telecast will also feature Ra’eese Aleem vs. Vic Pasillas and Rolando Romero vs. Justin Pauldo.