Sunday, January 24, 2021

Fulton Defeats Leo To Win WBO Jr. Featherweight World Championship


Undefeated Jr. Featherweight Stephen Fulton scored a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision over previously undefeated WBO Jr. Featherweight world champion Angelo Leo to win the WBO world championship on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. What was a fight primarily fought on the inside from the outset, the two fighters engaged in near non-stop combat with each having periods of success. 


While not the easiest fight to score based on the majority of the action being fought in close, it was subtle differences that Fulton was able to execute such as catching Leo as he came forward with flush uppercuts during periods where Leo was the fighter applying the pressure and backing him up. Despite being cut over the left eye in round one as a result of an accidental clash of heads, Leo was more than willing to engage the challenger. As the fight progressed progressed however, the champion was unable to adapt as their began to be some separation between the fighters and Fulton was able to execute his jab and have his way more on the inside as it appeared he was the stronger fighter down the stretch. It was those aspects that ultimately allowed Fulton to get the nod in some very close rounds and to earn the unanimous decision victory, winning the WBO Jr. Featherweight world championship in what was an extremely grueling fight. Official scores were: 118-110, and 119-109 (On two scorecards) all in favor of Stephen Fulton. Stephen Fulton advances to 19-0, with 8 Knockouts. Angelo Leo falls to 20-1, with 9 Knockouts.



Also on this card:


In a battle of unbeaten Jr. Featherweight prospects, Ra’eese Aleem scored an eleventh round stoppage of previously undefeated Vic Pasillas. Aleem dropped Pasillas with a right hand to the head in round two. In round six, Pasillas would go down from a counter left hook to the jaw. This was repeated in round nine when a short left hook caused Pasillas’ right glove to touch the canvas resulting in the third knockdown even though Pasillas did not leave his feet. Although Pasillas remained “Game” and tried to hang in there, he simply had no answer to combat Aleem’s hand speed, lateral movement, and ability to use angles to set up his offense. The end came in round eleven when Aleem landed a flush right hook to the head of Pasillas sending him down for the fourth and final time. Referee Danny Schiavone immediately stopped the fight. Official time of the stoppage was 1:00 of round eleven. Ra’eese Aleem advances to 18-0, with 12 Knockouts. Vic Pasillas falls to 16-1, with 10 Knockouts.



Undefeated Lightweight prospect Rolando Romero scored a dominant seventh round stoppage over late substitute Avery Sparrow. Romero was very aggressive from the opening bell and scored a knockdown in the first round by connecting with a short left hook to the head of Sparrow. While Romero maintained consistent aggression, he also showed an ability to box as he frequently made Sparrow miss with a majority of his offense. Sparrow was able to have periodic success in landing his right hand to the head of Romero, he was never able to find a consistent rhythm and was warned frequently for both holding and low blows throughout. In round six, Sparrow appeared to suffer an injury when one of his legs buckled and he went down. Although he was clearly compromised, Sparrow fought on, but was deducted two points later in the round for a deliberate low blow. Shortly into round seven, with their fighter injured and behind on the scorecards, Sparrow’s corner elected to stop the fight. A decision that enraged Sparrow. Official time of the stoppage was :43 of round seven. Rolando Romero advances to 13-0, with 11 Knockouts. Avery Sparrow falls to 10-3, with 3 Knockouts.



This card, which was held under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner and promoted by Mayweather Promotions, focused the spotlight firmly on Boxing’s 122lb. Jr. Featherweight division. While it will be interesting to see where all the fighters who fought on this card will go next, for Stephen Fulton, who was to face Angelo Leo for what was then the vacant WBO Jr. Featherweight world championship last August, but had to withdraw due to testing positive for the COVID-19 virus, the sky may be the limit going forward as he might have a potential rematch with Leo down the line or perhaps an encounter with Ra’eese Aleem in his future.


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