The PBC Fight of the Year: Lubin vs. Fundora

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An epic back and forth between top 154-pounders ends with Sebastian Fundora scoring his biggest victory to date and a valiant Erickson Lubin gaining a new legion of fans.

Sebastian Fundora knew what was going on inside. The 6-foot, 5½-inch “Towering Inferno” has known all along. It was just a matter of everyone else in boxing seeing the unseen measure that goes into making stars into superstars. It often comes with a push, and on Saturday night, April 9, 2022, at The Theatre At Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, in Las Vegas, Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin provided the right foil to produce what Fundora always knew about himself.

Fundora, the rail-thin, 24-year-old from Coachella, California, received the test of his young boxing life that night in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing. For the first time, he was knocked down and in trouble. For the first time as a pro, his mental strength was being challenged, his fortitude shoved face down.

How would he react? Would he cower, or rise?

Resting on his left knee against the ropes after absorbing a cascade of punches, Fundora rose in the ring, and his status in boxing rose with it when he came overcame a seventh-round knockdown to force Lubin to retire in the ninth round.

The fight featured two knockdowns and movie-like back-and-forth action to earn Lubin vs. Fundora the Premier Boxing Champion’s 2022 honor of the Fight of the Year.

“I think this was probably my best performance ever,” Fundora said after the fight. “It was a back-and-forth fight, and he really brough his hammers today, but you know what, I decided to bring my drill and that’s what I did. My uppercut was landing like no other, it got the job done.”

Each southpaw fighter scored a knockdown. Each fighter showed impeccable heart getting up from those knockdowns. Each fighter dragged and flogged the will of the other.

In the end, it was Fundora who not only came out on top but benefitted greatly from staring down the barrel of adversity for the first time in his career and beat it. If there were any doubts about the collegial-looking Fundora, he answered them emphatically.

He started well, pulling off a sweet move in the second round, drawing Lubin in with a feint, then unfurling a right uppercut that caught Lubin perfectly on the tip of the chin, sending him down for the third time in his career. Lubin, trying to balance himself on wobbly feet, didn’t look like he would make it out of the round.

“I hit him with one uppercut, and I saw that it rocked him,” Fundora said. “So, I did it again and again and again. I knew the uppercut was going to land. He said he was going to come out and fight me and he did. Hats off to him.”

It took Lubin a couple rounds to regain his footing.

By the seventh, it was his turn.

With :38 left in that frame, Lubin stunned Fundora with a right hook that got through his high shield. Lubin had Fundora backing up for one of the rare times in his career and taking heat. Defenseless and taking blows to the head and face, Fundora had the awareness under the strain to take a knee.

“I got hit with a good punch and I didn’t feel like I needed to get hit again so I took a knee to get a little breather in and I recovered,” Fundora recalled. “I intentionally took a knee. I knew I had to take a knee because if I kept getting hit like that it wouldn’t be smart for me and I wouldn’t be able to recollect myself. I started to eat the cake in one bite. I went back to my corner and my dad said, ‘Don’t be doing that. Don’t be acting dumb.’ I came back in the next round, and I figured stuff out again.”

He did.

Fundora attacked in the eighth, making Lubin fight off his back foot, and in the ninth, with Lubin’s eyes two slits, a hematoma growing on his face, blood spilling from his mouth, and unable to fend off Fundora, Lubin’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham, wisely ended it.

At the time of the stoppage, "The Towering Inferno" had no idea about the mountain he had climbed, until he saw the scorecards: Lubin was ahead on two of the three judge’s scorecards 85-84.

For a closer look at Sebastian Fundora, check out his fighter page. 

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