The undefeated 154-pound sensation keeps a tight circle of support as he heads into a showdown against the dangerous Erickson Lubin Saturday night in a PBC on SHOWTIME headliner.
Cliches abound in boxing. One of the most predictable is that, as a fighter rises through the ranks, their circle, once occupied only by family and close friends, begins to grow. Suddenly there are extra people in the dressing room before a fight – a photographer, a videographer, a cheerleader and other new friends.
A peek into Sebastian Fundora’s dressing room on fight night, however, reveals a team that bucks this trend.
Fundora (18-0-1, 12 KOs), the lanky 6-foot-6 southpaw aptly dubbed “The Towering Inferno,” faces his toughest test yet in Erickson Lubin (24-1, 17 KOs) this Saturday, April 9, in a Premier Boxing Champions event live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
On the line will be the WBC Interim Super Welterweight title. After the fight, when the cameras and microphones have captured reactions from both fighters, Fundora will head home and spend Sunday with his parents and siblings. Despite a successful professional career spanning six years, and potentially a new green belt around his waist, the fighting Fundora family keep to themselves.
“You know the saying, ‘Toxica?’” said Fundora. “I just worry about all the bad people that could come with winning or becoming successful. Because you don’t know where it’s going to come from. It could be your friend of 20 years. Things change, I guess. I just hope that we don’t run into someone so bad that we can’t handle the situation, or we have to leave where we live or something like that.”
Fundora’s Cuban-born father and trainer, Freddy Sr., himself a former boxer, runs a tight ship, both at home, and in the gym, which helps alleviate Fundora’s concerns.
On Sunday, they’ll relax and cook together. Fundora’s mother Monique, also a former boxer, will bake a cake. The family will probably break out the karaoke machine and sing, a pastime the family has enjoyed since Fundora was a child.
“It’s the best,” said Fundora of the Sunday tradition. “That’s how I know I’m home, I’m safe—and that I won the fight.”
Even during karaoke, Fundora enjoys healthy competition with sister Gabriela, the reigning WBC Latino Flyweight Champion.
“I think the best singer we have is my sister,” Sebastian admitted. “But don't tell her that. She gets cocky.”
“ My style is exciting, and I’m always going to bring that action. ” Undefeated Super Welterweight Contender - Sebastian Fundora
The pair motivate each other inside the ring as well. “She already has the title,” said Fundora. “On April 9th, I’ll be right there. I have to set the pace.
“When I’m slacking, she keeps me straight, and when she’s slacking, I keep her straight…it’s good to have her.”
The Fundoras have always been close-knit. The family moved from Florida to Coachella, California when Sebastian was nine. Fundora’s ascent to the highest levels of boxing has garnered him a high profile and a wealth of support in his hometown.
“The more fights I fight, the more the city accepts me, and the more I become a household name in Coachella,” said Fundora. “It’s really nice. I go to the store, and the old ladies stop to take a picture with me. Usually, it’s the week after the fight. That’s when I get a lot of love. My neighbors bake me cookies after every fight.
“I would definitely love to fight in Coachella someday. They’re building a new hockey stadium, and if all goes right, hopefully I can be the first event there in the Valley. I’m going to give them a plaque to hang up inside that says, “Home of the ‘Towering Inferno.’”
Not that Fundora is getting ahead of himself. There is an edge to him as fight night draws closer. Lubin is one of the division’s finest technicians. With a world title shot pending, much is at stake.
“He’s not calling me to tell me what he’s going to do, but we’ve known him since I was a kid,” said a Fundora hinting that he knows what to expect from his foe on Saturday night.
More important, Fundora remains committed to giving the fans a Fight of the Year contender.
“My style is exciting, and I’m always going to bring that action,” said Fundora. “I want fans to walk away with a beer in their hand, and a good reason to stay in Vegas and celebrate having seen a good fight.
“I’m going to fight the fight my way. I don’t want to switch my style. The only way I’m going to win is if I fight my way.”
Afterward, he’ll celebrate his way as well – with his family.
For a closer look at Sebastian Fundora, check out his fighter page.