Wednesday, May 31, 2023  |



Sebastian Fundora hopes to secure shot at Jermell Charlo with win over Brian Mendoza

Sebastian Fundora and Brian Mendoza. Photo by Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
Fighters Network

Sebastian Fundora has gotten used to the bigger platforms and being the headliner in recent fights. 

Now the hard part is maintaining that role and not have anyone spoil what has been a good thing so far.

Fundora will again fill the role of headliner tonight when he faces Brian Mendoza at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The 12-round bout will headline a three-bout Showtime Championship Boxing telecast (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).

At Friday’s weigh-in, Fundora weighed 153.3 pounds. Mendoza weighed in at 153.5 pounds.

Fundora (20-0-1, 13 knockouts), who resides in Coachella, California, last fought on October 8, defeating Carlos Ocampo by unanimous decision. The win over Ocampo took place about six months after Fundora stopped Erickson Lubin in a grueling back-and-forth fight that was a candidate for ‘Fight of the Year’ for The Ring and other boxing publications. 

The 25-year-old is currently ranked No. 3 at 154 pounds by The Ring.

Tonight, he must take care of business against Mendoza (21-2, 15 KOs), who was victorious in his last bout on November 5, knocking out former unified world junior middleweight titleholder Jeison Rosario in the fifth round. Mendoza has won three of his last four bouts, with the blemish coming at the hands of Jesus Ramos in September 2021. 

Fundora is ready for anything that Mendoza brings to the table.

“We’re just ready to put on a good show,” said Fundora at Thursday’s press conference. “It feels great to be fighting tough guys like Mendoza and that’s what I want to do again and again. I love fighting in front of these fans in Southern California. I think this is a great fight for the fans. The fans here are very demanding and a fight like this will give them their money’s worth.

“I’m becoming more comfortable in this role as a headliner. It’s given me a good kind of overwhelming feeling for some past fights, but I’ve been very relaxed this whole camp and I’m just ready to go.”

Fundora should feel comfortable as he will have familiar company in his corner. His younger sister Gabriela, an unbeaten flyweight, will see action during the preliminary portion of the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) card, squaring off against former world strawweight title challenger Maria Santizo of Guatemala. 

Freddy Fundora, Sebastian’s father, also will be in the corner, providing guidance to both siblings.

“My father Freddy is a mentor and leader for me and my sister Gabriela,” said Fundora, who is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz. “We’re going to follow his lead and that’s what you need in this sport. It’s not only inside the ring, but because he’s our father, it’s outside the ring as well.”

A convincing win over Mendoza could put Fundora in a position to challenge Ring Magazine and undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo. A fight against Tim Tszyu is what many in the sport want to see later down the road.

Fundora will look forward to the day he faces Charlo or any of the top fighters at 154 pounds.

“Jermell Charlo, of course, is the guy we want,” said Fundora. “Whoever falls in line though, we’ll take who we can get. The job is to beat the guy in front of you.

“We’ve been in this position before. We’re here to win and we worked hard. We’re here to keep moving forward.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]