New York – Saturday evening the boxing schedule resumes with three cards televised on Showtime, ESPN, and DAZN the streaming network. Undefeated 154-pound contender Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora opposes Erickson Lubin on Showtime and 23-year old rising lightweight prospect Ryan Garcia returns to the ring after a year hiatus opposing Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe televised on DAZN
Fundora, the 24-year old Mexican-American has become a sensation and got the name “Towering Inferno” because of his 6ft-6in. height that has paved his way to success as opponents have discovered there is a distinct height and reach advantage. The fight with Lubin is a Premier Boxing Champions event from the Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.
Fundora, though, admits there is always room for improvement. His last fight was a 12-round decision over previously unbeaten Segio Garcia in December and first going the distance.
“I learned against Garcia that I’m in great condition and that I can go into deep waters,” said Fundora. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot during this camp. It’s really everything. My boxing, my strength, my running and my overall conditioning is at a higher level. Everything is just peaking for me heading into this fight.”
Regardless, this fight will begin the process for a championship opportunity. Lubin, though, will be the test as they fight for the WBC Super Welterweight interim title and get a chance at meeting the winner of the upcoming Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano rematch of the WBA/IBF/WBA/ WBO title unification televised May 14 on Showtime.
Fundora said training camp went well and he is fighting Lubin at the right time.
“It feels great to be in this position, but it’s part of the plan,” said Fundora. “We’re just going through with it. I’ve got racehorse vision and I’m making sure that I’ll get the job done. Being in this fight shows that I’m maturing. I first fought with PBC when I was 19-years-old and I’m a much different fighter since then.”
Lubin is coming off a six fight winning streak and a win could earn a second world title opportunity after a loss to Charlo in 2017. Again this is the opportunity for Fundora to show he deserves to be in the title picture in a very competitive and action packed division of talent.
“We know Lubin is a southpaw and that he’s ranked number one by the WBC,” said Fundora. “He’s a good fighter overall. I expect him to come in and box, but I’m really just focused on doing what I do best. Fans can expect me to bring action against Erickson Lubin.”
He said, “‘The Towering Inferno’ is bringing the fire on fight night.” And if those previous fights show that similar style Saturday night, I do believe Fundora will bring that fire to the division and get a well deserved title opportunity.
KING RYAN RETURNS: Ryan Garcia has the talent and is young enough to be that superstar in the lightweight division, another competitive pound-for-pound class that could be the best in boxing. Current champion George Kambosos Jr. holds the distinction of unified champion and will defend the titles in his backyard of Australia against the WBC designated title holder Devin Haney, June 4 in Melbourne.
But Garcia, undefeated (21-0, 18 KO’s) known for his quick power, hit some obstacles over the past year that put him a step back in a quest to become a champion in the past year. He stepped away from the ring with depression and anxiety issues.
A comeback fight last year, after declaring his mental state was fit to fight, was also put on hold after sustaining a wrist injury that required surgery. He returns to the ring Saturday night on DAZN, opposing Tago (31-0, 15 KO’s) at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The fight will be the first for Garcia since his seventh-round knockout of 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and former title challenger Luke Campbell (20-4, 16KOs) last January 2 in Dallas. In that fight he came off the canvas after a right to the temple.
Though, the punch that knocked him down and subsequent follow up showed Garcia, a Mexican-American, with a social media following that surpasses one million, is tough and resilient. To many, Garcia may have an ego that labeled him as “King Ryan” but the punches and ability to stop opponents speaks volumes.
There is also a question about loyalty that does not help with his reputation. Recently, Garcia left Eddie Reynoso, the renowned trainer of pound-for-pound champion Canelo Alvarez. Garcia changed direction and took on longtime trainer Joe Goossen, the Fox Sports boxing analyst .
Recently, Alvarez questioned the loyalty of Garcia after providing him an opportunity to train with Reynoso.
But defeating Campbell was a major step towards securing a title opportunity. The setbacks, though, now have led to questions which lead Garcia looking for a quick and commanding win Saturday night.
He commented about the social media following that has also caused a stir. Some believe posting training sessions of sparring and training in the gym on social media giveaway strategy that provides advantage to his opponents. Garcia, as expected, disputes that theory because social media is now a part of the game and new generation of young fighters.
“I’m actually smarter than people think,” Garcia said. “I’ve had a vision when I was younger. I said that social media was gonna play a big part in this game, and I took advantage of that.I wanted everyone to know this kid from Victorville. I wanted to show people that I’m coming. And now, here I am. I’ve seen it before it happened and now I’m ready to take over.”
Yet the takeover remains to be determined and more reason why Saturday night it is important for Ryan Garcia to once again make a statement. If he wants a shot at Kambosos, Haney, and others in the competitive division of 135, then a commanding win will send that statement.
GOMEZ HIGHLIGHTS CANELO UNDERCARD: Shakhram Giyasove and Christian Gomez will meet for the IBF North America Welterweight title on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez and his clash with WBA World Light Heavyweight champion Dimitry Bivol at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday May 7.
Alvarez and Bivol will be televised on DAZN pay-per-view. Gomez will ba a part of the telecast
Giyasov (12-0 9 KOs) moves up to Welterweight. The 28 year old was ranked at #7 with the WBA and #10 with the IBF at 140lbs, but made his first steps at eyeing up the 147lbs division with a catchweight win over ten rounds in his Uzbek homeland in December
Gomez (22-2-1 20 KOs), the big-hitting Mexican that will be aiming to use Canelo’s fans to roar him to victory. Gomez, also 28 years old, has been hunting a breakout fight and has landed it on Cinco De Mayo weekend in no small part thanks to an eye-catching KO streak stretching back six fights to August 2019, with two of those wins coming on Canelo cards in Texas.
“My fight this upcoming May 7 we have a tough opponent but we’re preparing and training very hard,” said Gomez. “We’re coming with everything. Thank you to those that always support me. We’re coming for the win, God willing”
Rich Mancuso is a senior writer for Latinosports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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