Stephen Fulton (20-0 9kos) had to wait a bit to get his big fight. Fulton tested positive for covid last year and then with the original fight being postponed with Brandon Figueroa (22-1-1 17kos) his moment was delayed, but in a fight of the year candidate Fulton became the unified 122-pound champion. It was a great fight with both men showing what makes them two of the best at 122. In the end the cleaner punching and boxing of Fulton won him the fight in the eyes of the judges.
The cards came out (114-114, 116-12×2) in favor of Fulton. The action enthralling as Figueroa would push forward throw punches in bunches and attempt to overwhelm Fulton. The responses from Fulton were pure class as he countered, jabbed, and moved and would throw lead rights that had would stop Figueroa momentarily. Both men gave as good as they took as both not only showed great heart, but also great chins as each landed some thunderous shots on each other. Fulton was sneaky with his body work early as it wasn’t as much as Figueroa was throwing but were always in between an attack from Figueroa. The rounds were immensely tough to score as through six I had it even.
The second half of the fight started of exactly as the fight was as in the seventh, I believe was the clearest round for Figueroa. Then Fulton responded with a solid round even with a barrage from Figueroa to end the 8th many shots were avoided by Fulton it was the clearest round. Each fighter was getting great work in the corner as neither wanted to wilt and both sides knew it was a close fight. Fulton went in and adapted to Figueroa’s attack and got inside and seemed to surprise Figueroa for a bit. Fulton had previously showed his ability to fight on the inside and he proved it was no fluke here. The movement he showed also made it look like Figueroa would chase and just throw to close the distance but wasn’t always landing.
The championship rounds were close, and Fulton seemed to get the better of the last three as I edged it to him. The 12th round was where he needed to show it and he finished strong. Figueroa undeterred kept coming forward, but Fulton would push him back with the jab and right hand and knew when to move out of the way. Figueroa pressed to the end and attempted to get one last big shot, but it never came. Both men felt they won the fight, but Fulton knew it was close as he stated postflight and he mentioned a rematch could happen. Figueroa felt as if it was a robbery, and I don’t agree it was close and could’ve gone either way. With the victory Fulton know has a claim as the man at 122 but with Ra’eese Aleem, Daniel Roman and Murodjon Akhmadliev the other big names in the division we could see some good fights. Fulton and Figueroa gave us a great fight, and both should be commended for it as two young undefeated fighters put their undefeated records on the line and their belts when some other fighters seem to avoid similar opportunities. This night Fulton became unified, but boxing fans won as well.