Undefeated junior middleweights Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora and Manuel “Baby” Zepeda are ready to clash in the main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader this Friday, June 21st at the WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa. In the co-feature, Michel Rivera (15-0, 10 KOs) from the Dominican Republic takes on Mexico’s Rene Tellez Giron (13-0, 7 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout, and to open the telecast, Yeis Solano (14-0, 10 KOs) will face former Argentine lightweight champion Elias Damian Araujo (19-1, 7 KOs) in another eight-round lightweight bout. Here is a cloaser look at Fundora-Zepeda:
Fundora, (12-0, 8 KOs), already standing at an amazing six-foot-seven inches, continues to grow with every training camp – literally and figuratively. Already believed to be the tallest 154-pound fighter in boxing history, Fundora says he has some unbelievable news coming out of training camp for this fight. “I think I grew another inch,” laughed the giant southpaw. “I get measured at every training camp and it looks like I might have gotten taller by an inch.”
Fundora, who has appeared on television before but never in a main event, is thrilled to be getting this important opportunity.
“I’m excited. Not only is it my first main event, but it’s on Showtime,” said the 21-year-old. “I’m very honored they think I’m a big enough name to headline. I will put on a great show. I don’t know much about Zepeda, other than that he’s right-handed and about six feet tall. I’m not concerned, I’ve had over 100 amateur fights and I’ve faced different sizes and styles so I’m ready for anything.”
Fundora, originally from Coachella, Calif., spent the first half of training camp sparring in Big Bear, Calif. against much heavier fighters and then closed camp in Laguna Beach. After the grueling training camp, he believes his work with strength and conditioning coach JR Corrales is paying off.
“I’m not only getting taller, I’m also getting stronger,” Fundora said. “I’m maturing, so age is kicking in. My jab will always be my best punch, but my power is increasing fight after fight. I was sparring with a lot of bigger guys and not getting pushed around by anyone. I’m already on weight too. My dad says he doesn’t want me to have to go through a fat camp and a training camp every fight so I stay in shape at all times.”
Fundora’s father Freddy, who also serves as his trainer, is happy with his son’s growth. “Sebastian is looking sharp and he’s very focused,” he said. “With every camp, he matures. He’s growing and that’s very important in the sport. From here on out, we’re just going to be sharpening the tools he already has which are his strength, power and boxing IQ. Zepeda looks like he’s going to try to box, but both of these kids are from boxing families and that always makes for fireworks. You’re going to see two guys who have come to fight and put on a show Friday.”
It’s been a remarkable ride through pro boxing for the previously unheralded Fundora. “Sebastian has grown as a fighter every time he fought,” said his promoter Sampson Lewkowicz. “Boxing is in his blood. Everyone in his family was a fighter. He’s going to be a world champion. I believe in him. He has worked very hard to become an overnight sensation in boxing.”
Tijuana, Mexico’s Manuel Zepeda, (17-0, 4 KOs) knows Fundora won’t be an easy fight, but he’s not worried because he’s been preparing for this opportunity his entire life. “Fundora is a big guy for the division,” said the 21-year-old Zepeda. “He’s talented, but I prepared very hard for this fight. I’m ready to give it all on Friday night. This is my first fight in the U.S. and I have been waiting my whole life for this.”
An intelligent boxer especially skilled at fighting on the inside, Zepeda has been working hard with long-time trainer Romulo Quirarte at Crea Gym in Tijuana. “I have learned a lot in this camp,” said Zepeda. “Fundora is very different to the guys that I’ve fought before. He’s a tall lefty, so I had to make a lot of changes to how I normally do things. I have been sparring with lefties and tall guys like [former world champions] Antonio Demarco and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. I’ve been working hard. I’m ready for him. I’m confident I’ll get the win.”
Zepeda, son of respected former boxer Ernesto “Baby” Zepeda, is proud to come from a family of boxers. “I come from a boxing family. My dad and my uncle were boxers. My dad fought for a [minor] world title and my uncle was a national champion. I was born with gloves on. I’ve been around boxing my entire life, that’s why I have such a passion for the sport. My father has been guiding me throughout my career, advising me, teaching me. I’m very lucky to have him. I’ve learned so much from him. I’m planning on winning on Friday night. My time has come.”
Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Tickets for the event, promoted by Sampson Boxing in association with Paco Presents are currently on sale at www.WinnaVegas.com.