COACHELLA, Calif. — Undefeated junior middleweight Sebastian Fundora has earned his spot to fight for a world championship in the junior middleweight division. However, he refuses to sit around while the smoke clears for his opportunity to arise. Champion, Jermell Charlo broke his hand earlier this year forcing him to withdraw from a fight against #1 contender, Tim Tszyu. While they clear things up, “The Towering Inferno” plans to stay as busy as possible until title opportunity knocks. On Saturday night, Fundora takes on yet another tough challenger in Brian Mendoza who is coming off the biggest win of his career, a 5th round knockout over former champion, Jeison Rosario. Last October Fundora unanimously defeated once beaten Carlos Ocampo. Prior to that he was involved in one of the all-time great fights in the 154 lbs division when he defeated Erick Lubin in a back and forth fight in Las Vegas. Fundora hopes to put on an exciting and successful showing against Mendoza that leads to him fighting for the title by the years end.
Zenger News caught up with the junior middleweight giant to get his thoughts on Saturday night’s main event slot that he has earned.
Zenger: How are you for this fight week?
Fundora: I’m good. Everything is good. We finished up camp strong and I’m ready for the fight.
Zenger: Your last performance against Carlos Ocampo was heavily critiqued. But do you feel you benefited from going 12-rounds with a former title challenger?
Fundora: I think I benefit from every fight, that fight included. We did what we wanted to do. I did a lot of things in that camp, and I displayed it for myself in that fight. We got the job done, we still won, and we won unanimously. So, it was a good win and a good night.
Zenger: Do you think the excitement and entertainment of the [Erickson] Lubin fight kind of lingers over you, so fights that don’t look like the Lubin fight is overly scrutinized?
Fundora: Lingering… no, because before that people always thought I was an exciting fighter. It’s always been a thing. I don’t think it is a problem. I think the fact that fans expect an exciting fight from me is actually a good thing.
Zenger: Brian Mendoza is coming off of what is considered his biggest win against former world champion Jeison Rosario. I’m sure you are expecting the best version of him trying to build off of the momentum he has from the Rosario fight.
Fundora: Of course! Nothing less from him. He is another world-class fighter that we’re fighting and like you said, we’re expecting nothing but the best.
Zenger: Mendoza has shown some different wrinkles to his game. What type of fight are you expecting from him?
Fundora: Honestly, I don’t even know. I didn’t really watch too much of the last fight he fought. I just know he won by knockout. Whatever he brings, we’ll be ready for it.
Zenger: You seem to be finding a home fighting in Carson [California], and you are finding a home headlining Showtime cards. How does it feel to be in this position?
Fundora: I’m always grateful. I’m always grateful for the position I’m in. I’m getting very used to it. I’m happy where I’m at. We have worked very hard to be here. My dad always planned this for us, all these plans are starting to happen now and I’m just enjoying the moment.
Zenger: You obviously don’t want to play the waiting game. You are in position to fight for a title, but opposed to waiting, you continue to fight top opposition and Brian Mendoza is no exception. How important is it for you to not take a softer touch fight to assure your title shot?
Fundora: It’s very important. You have to stay active in boxing. Once you get stagnant or lower down your opposition, you start to lose your steam. The fans don’t like that as well. The fans come and watch us fight, they pay their hard-earned money, so the best thing we can do is to fight as often as we can against the toughest opposition that’s available.
Zenger: Have you found a balance in paying attention to what’s going on in the division and being focused on what’s in front of you, because obviously both are equally important?
Fundora: Of course, and if I don’t, my father and my family keeps me in check. If I’m ever out of line or feel like I’m waiting too long, my father will put me in place to recognize where I’m at or what the situation is. That’s all I need.
Zenger: Has it become difficult to not look ahead given the fact that you are in line for a title shot, or do you still approach it one fight at a time?
Fundora: We take it one fight at a time. We’ve always done that. It’s not a problem. It’s just about what fight are we going to have and even that’s not a problem because we just do the work.
Zenger: Do you feel volume will be your keys to victory in this fight, your length and height, or something else?
Fundora: I guess we will know when the bell rings. I really don’t know too much about Mendoza. I just know we are going to be staring at him from across the ring on Saturday night.
Zenger: Do you traditionally not watch a lot of footage of your opponents or something you just started to not do?
Fundora: I honestly never really watch footage of my opponents. It’s all my pops and I just listen to my dad and we just get the work in. I’m going to be working on what I’m going to be doing no matter who I am fighting.
Zenger: Fighter’s aren’t nearly as active as they were in the past and Jermell is recovering from a broken hand. So if we get [Jermell] Charlo and [Tim] Tszyu late this year, are you willing to face someone else before the end of the year or do you wait?
Fundora: I do want to fight again this year. As many times as I can. It looks like the champion and his fights are scheduled for this year, but I don’t know when his fight will take place. If we can fight for those title this year as well, I’d definitely take it.
Zenger: Anything in particular that you have been working on in the gym for this fight?
Fundora: I can’t really say, you’ll just have to tune in on fight night. Fans can expect an exciting fight, guns blazing, and they will get their monies worth. Tune in to Showtime on April 8th, you will have me and my sister [Gabriela] fighting.