Like every professional fighter, Stephen Fulton Jr. dreamed of winning a world title, but it did not stop there. He also harbors goals of becoming an undisputed champion and then moving up in weight to try to do it again.
So, after Fulton handily outpointed Angelo Leo to take his WBO junior featherweight title in January 2021, he was hardly satisfied, and he did not want a soft touch for his first defense or a victory lap kind of fight.
Fulton wanted to unify 122-pound titles immediately, and he got his wish in November. That is when he edged Brandon Figueroa by majority decision in a fight of the year candidate to take his WBC 122-pound title.
“To become a world champion, sometimes that be it for certain guys. That wasn’t my ultimate goal,” Fulton told Fight Freaks Unite on Thursday. “My ultimate goal was to become undisputed and then go on up (to featherweight) and do the same thing.”
Before he can press the issue on an undisputed title fight, however, he will face former unified titlist Danny Roman in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions tripleheader on Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) at The Armory in Minneapolis.
Again, Fulton did not want an easy opponent, and Roman is anything but. Since losing an eight-round decision in 2013, Roman has lost only once, and that was a disputed split decision that cost him his WBA and IBF title belts against Murodjon Akhmadaliev in January 2020. Roman has won two fights in a row since and is universally considered one of the top contenders in the division.
As long as Fulton (20-0, 8 KOs), 27, of Philadelphia, was not able to get an undisputed fight with Akhmadaliev right away, Roman fit the bill as the sort of quality challenger he wanted to face.
“His accolades, his style, his record, everything,” Fulton said of the reasons he wanted to fight Roman. “He’s a durable fighter. He’s a great fighter.”
Of course, Fulton’s performance against Roman will be measured against the one Akhmadaliev had against him. If Fulton beats Roman, he said he will press for that undisputed title fight.
“I know it’s not easy to make,” said Fulton, who is with PBC and fights on Showtime while Akhmadaliev is with Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn and fights on DAZN. “But I feel like we can make that happen. I feel like everybody can put their pride and whatever else aside to make an undisputed (championship) fight happen.”
Hear more of Fulton’s comments on our latest “Big Fight Weekend Preview” Podcast by clicking play below,
Fulton said he has already told his team that is what he wants next, assuming all goes well against Roman (29-3-1, 10 KOs), 31, of Los Angeles. Fulton and Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7 KOs), 27, a southpaw from Uzbekistan, will be on the same schedule as he is set to make a mandatory defense against Ronny Rios on June 25 in San Antonio.
Roman said Fulton should not look ahead and that he is ready to start a second title reign.
“When I lost my titles to MJ there were politics involved,” Roman said without elaborating. “But that’s boxing and now I’m focused on who’s in front of me now and that’s Stephen Fulton. I’m not overlooking my opponent.
“It’s been a year since I last fought, and I’m paying attention to that. This opportunity doesn’t come around twice so I know what I have to do to get that W. I’ve been in his position before and you don’t want to lose those belts. I was a unified champion too. So I know what it takes. He’s going to try and look his best, and I’m going to go in there and give everything I have to get him.”
In the co-feature, Cuban southpaw David Morrell (6-0, 5 KOs), 24, who fights out of Minneapolis, defends his WBA “regular” super middleweight belt for the third time against Kalvin Henderson (15-1-1, 11 KOs), 31, of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Opening the broadcast will be a replay of WBA “regular” lightweight titlist Gervonta Davis’ sixth-round knockout of Rolando Romero, which headlined a Showtime PPV last Saturday.