In a stunning upset that shook the boxing world, Brian Mendoza scored a sensational seventh-round knockout of the previously unbeaten Sebastian Fundora to claim the Interim WBC Super Welterweight Title on Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. The fight was the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card on SHOWTIME.
Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs), who had lost two of his previous four fights, showed his power and precision as he landed a devastating left hook that rocked Fundora (20-1-1, 13 KOs) early in the seventh round. He then followed up with a vicious left-right combination that sent Fundora crashing to the canvas, prompting referee Jack Reiss to wave off the fight without a count at 0:32 of the round.
The knockout was a shocking turn of events, as Fundora, who stands at 6-foot-6 and is known as “The Towering Inferno”, had been dominating the fight with his relentless pressure and uppercuts. Fundora had bloodied Mendoza’s nose in the fifth round and was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage (60-54 twice and 59-55).
Fundora, who had scored two consecutive stoppages in his previous fights, was gracious in defeat and admitted that he got caught with a punch that he did not see coming.
“I’m good, for one second I turned off, but I guess that’s boxing, it happens,” said Fundora. “You just get caught with a punch. I did some punching and then I got caught you know. He was throwing that overhand right all night and I was dodging and dodging, but in boxing the second you fall asleep, you get punished.”
Mendoza, who hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico and trains in Las Vegas with coach Ismael Salas, was overcome with emotion after his career-changing victory. He dedicated the win to his late father and said that he never gave up on his dream despite the setbacks he faced.
With the win, Mendoza becomes a major player in the stacked 154-pound division and puts himself in position for bigger fights in the future. He also proved that anything can happen in boxing and that one punch can change everything.