Sebastian Fundora eager to clear one more hurdle en route to title shot

Sebastian Fundora continues to play the waiting game.

The No. 1-ranked 154-pound contender is scheduled to face Brian Mendoza on April 8 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California (Showtime).

If he wins, the 6-foot-6 “Towering Inferno” will remain in position to fight for a world title for the first time. He hopes to face the winner of a projected summer fight between undisputed champion Jermell Charlo and Tim Tszyu, although he knows nothing is guaranteed in boxing.

“I feel like I’ve been proving myself over and over again,” Fundora said. “We’re waiting for our shot to fight for the title. They keep putting guys in front of me who they say will knock me out or expose me, but I keep proving them wrong.”

Mendoza (21-2, 15 KOs) seemed to hit his ceiling when he lost a one-sided decision to Jesus Ramos in September 2021.

However, last November, he delivered a stunning upset when he stopped former unified titleholder Jeison Rosario in five rounds. That earned him a shot at Fundora and the opportunity to become a genuine contender.

Fundora (20-0-1, 13 KOs) insists he isn’t overlooking the native of Albuquerque.

“Everyone I fought has been strong guys and Mendoza is another,” Fundora said. “We’re just going to go for the win like always. … This fight is as important as every other fight before. Mendoza is a contender as well and we’re not looking at him lightly.

“We have to get past Mendoza if we want to even think of fighting for the championship.”

If things go well, he’ll go back to waiting. He’s only 25; he has time.

“I’m just building up,” he said. “My dad and I had plans that we talked about and we talked about contending and fighting for a title around this age. Things are working out. We’re where we want to be and just looking to get that title fight soon.

“We’re going to have to see what he brings on April 8. I have to prove myself again. We both have chips on our shoulders. We want to become champions and we have to win on April 8 to do so.

“I feel like some people are trying to skip me in order [to fight] for the title, but I’m remaining patient and staying focused on this fight. I just have to keep moving forward while everything else gets dealt with.”

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