Two undefeated stars of the boxing world delivered an ‘instant classic’ world title bout at junior featherweight (super bantamweight), before a controversial majority decision caused in farcical scenes after the final bell as the fighters debated the outcome on live television.
Stephen Fulton Jr brought a 19-0 record and a WBO world title to the ring, and walked out 12 epic rounds later with Brandon Figueroa’s WBC belt – and with the Mexican’s 23-fight unbeaten record marred by a first defeat.
Fulton was awarded the victory thanks to scorecards of 116-112 x 2, 114-114 after a back-and-forth war that had fans raving.
But Figueroa was in disbelief when the scorecards were read out, before a lengthy back-and-forth debate between the two fighters over who was deserving of victory.
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As traditional, Fulton thanked his team and the promoters before stating: “This was a war. It was a tough fight (against) a tough person.”
Then Figueroa butted in to interrupt the post-fight interview, repeatedly asking: “You really think you won the fight?”
“It was a close fight,” Fulton replied the first time. The second time, he answered: “It was a close fight, yeah, I won.”
Figueroa continued unabated: “I hurt you like five, six times. Everybody here knows who won! Everybody knows who won.”
Fulton quickly shot back: “I won!”
Fulton quickly offered a rematch, saying “We can fight again,” and Figueroa agreed, saying “Let’s do it then. I ain’t scared of you.”
But the heated debate only became wilder from there, as veteran interviewer Jim Gray was forced to intervene and said: “Guys, the fight’s over. The fight’s over!”
Gray then asked both fighters why they thought they won the fight as the drama continued.
Fulton declared: “I was catching him in between the shots he was throwing … He was making it a little sloppy and rough … I was placing my shots.”
Figueroa answered: “I put the pressure the whole 12 rounds. I landed the cleaner shots. I hurt him like five times. I probably only lost like four rounds in that fight.”
Figueroa then took things to the next level when he declared it: “Probably has to be the biggest robbery of the year … Even he knows who won, they just don’t want to admit it … It’s a robbery, not even a draw or nothing.”
Fulton landed 269 of his 726 thrown punches through the fight, while Figueroa had 314 of a whopping 1,060 punches. Figueroa had been the aggressor for much of the fight, but swung wildly while Fulton delivered the cleaner punches and particularly his more effective counterpunches.
Figueroa then appeared to renege on his agreement of a rematch at 122 pounds, given he had intended to move up in weight after the bout.