Sebastian Fundora entered Saturday night’s clash with Carlos Ocampo as a heavy favorite but had to battle his very game Ocampo over 12 tough rounds to retain his WBC interim junior middleweight title. Fundora ultimately retained his belt by unanimous decision in an entertaining bout that saw both men land clean shots over long periods of toe-to-toe brawling.
Despite standing nearly 6-foot-6 with an incredible 80-inch reach, Fundora (20-0-1, 13 KO) has developed a reputation as a fighter who rarely jabs, instead preferring to fight inside. Fundora showed an increased focus on the jab in the early rounds, trying to keep Ocampo on the outside while Ocampo (34-2, 22 KO) looked to target Fundora’s long torso with body shots.
After a relatively tepid start to the fight, where Ocampo may have stolen some rounds because of a lack of accuracy by his taller opponent, the action picked up in Round 4. That’s when Fundora abandoned his early jab-heavy attack to engage in his preferred style of toe-to-toe action.
The removal of the distance between the fighters allowed both men to shine. Ocampo, no longer having to navigate his way past Fundora’s jab, was able to wing big hooks and overhand rights toward Fundora’s head. Fundora, meanwhile, let loose with heavy uppercuts and hooks, whipping his long limbs in from a variety of angles.
The power Fundora was able to generate was the biggest factor during the thrilling rounds of inside battling. While neither man was ever knocked down, or even visibly shaken, Ocampo’s face showed the telltale bruising and swelling of being on the receiving end of many clean punches.
With the fight seemingly in hand in the championship rounds, Fundora again flipped the switch on his style, going back to his jab and straight left hands from his southpaw stance.
“I wanted to display a little bit more boxing,” Fundora said after the fight. “I still had to go in there and bang for the fans because that’s what they came here for. So, I gave them some.”
At the conclusion of 12 hard-fought rounds, Fundora took the fight on all three official scorecards, winning on scores of 117-111, 118-110 and 119-109, the latter scores seemingly wider than deserved as Ocampo seemed to have secured three or four rounds over the course of the bout.
Fundora now looks ahead to the next step in his promising young career, which he hopes to be a clash for the undisputed junior middleweight titles, currently held by Jermell Charlo. Charlo is set to defend his titles against Tim Tszyu in early 2023.
“I’m the WBC mandatory,” Fundora said. “I have my spot. I earned my spot. I hope I am next. Fingers crossed.”