Two-time welterweight world champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter scored a dominant unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Sebastian Formella in an IBF Welterweight Title Eliminator Saturday night headlining FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“He was a tough fighter,” said Porter. “After about six rounds my dad told me that he’s going to keep taking these punches, so I just needed to keep the pressure on him.”
Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) began to impose his renowned all-action style from the outset, as Formella (22-1, 10 KOs) looked to use the ring and his jab to slow the ongoing attack. Porter’s arsenal was more varied and effective as the fight went on, adding in increased body attacks and thudding left hooks and uppercuts to punctuate his numerous combinations.
“The game plan was to use finesse and subtlety,” said Porter. “I went in there looking for the shot and ready to take the openings. I wanted to be aggressive, but not too aggressive, because we knew he would run. We worked on cutting off the ring and I think it all worked out tonight.
“For me it made sense to fight up on my toes. It’s a different type of rhythm and a lot of guys don’t know when I’m coming and going. I think it mixed things up for Formella tonight. We worked on fast jabs, powerful jabs, directing the jab and today he couldn’t tell which one was coming. I was popping his head back and of course also going to the body.”
Formella continued to stand tall against Porter through the middle rounds, throwing return fire and landing scoring punches, even as Porter pressed forward and used his strength advantage.
“We had a lot of film on Formella,” said Porter. “I knew that his focus would be on his feet and when it wasn’t the feet, he would be covering up. I could tell his corner was telling him to punch with me or right after me, so he connected on me that way. I had to get on a different rhythm for him. He was able to play some chess and he did well. My dad always says that the mind controls everything. I think he had his mind made up that he was going to take everything and go 12 rounds. His body followed his mind tonight.”
In addition to out-landing Formella by a count of 304 to 148 throughout the fight according to CompuBox, Porter had a significant advantage in body punches landed, connecting on 89 to Formella’s six. Porter’s 304 punches landed was the most he’s connected on in a fight, surpassing the total he accrued in his 2016 clash against Keith Thurman.
“We definitely worked on throwing the overhand right for this fight,” said Porter. “We worked on our power a lot and in the beginning I wanted to land that overhand right. I was really keyed in on that. My dad said to stick to the speed and that would set up the power. I switched it up to straight rights to the body because that’s more of a speed punch.”
Porter continued his dominating work through the final round as Formella showed impressive durability in going the full 12 rounds in his U.S. debut. All three judges scored the bout the same way in favor of Porter, by the score of 120-108 three times.
Porter’s victory puts him in position for a showdown with the winner of the upcoming Errol Spence Jr. vs. Danny Garcia FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View matchup in November. In his post-fight interview with FOX Sports’ Jordan Hardy, Porter delivered a succinct message for his potential next opponent.
“I’m still here and I’m not going anywhere,” said Porter, who dropped a close decision to Spence in a unification bout last year, and defeated Garcia to capture the WBC title in 2018.
“There’s no telling what they’ll see from me in a rematch,” added Porter later. “I think both guys can also make adjustments. That’s what makes rematches so great, the fans have seen what both of you can do and they want to see who will make the right adjustments. I definitely think that I will be a little different against either guy.”
In the co-main event, sensational super welterweight Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora (15-0-1, 10 KOs) overwhelmed hard-hitting Nathaniel Gallimore (21-5-1, 17 KOs) on his way to a stoppage victory in the sixth round.
“I give my performance a 10 out of 10,” said Fundora. “I did what I had to do tonight. We’re always working on our distance and controlling that part of the fight, because I know I’m going to need it throughout my career. Whatever my team thinks is best for me next, I’ll be ready for it.”
Towering at nearly six-feet six-inches, Fundora used his length early to beat his hard-charging opponent to the punch, before using impressive punch output to wear Gallimore down on his way to earning the TKO. Gallimore had some success early, making Fundora fight on the inside while trying to set up, and occasionally landing, his own hard counters.
In round three, Fundora’s relentless power attack to the head and body began to be met with less resistance from Gallimore, who increasingly seemed to rely on landing one big punch to turn the tide of the fight. The pressure remained steady, as Fundora came forward throwing 74, 111 and 90 power punches respectively in rounds three, four and five.
Midway through round six, Fundora’s relentless offensive output eventually forced referee Ray Corona to halt the bout 1:28 into the round to give Fundora the victory over Gallimore, who appeared to suffer a leg injury during the fight.
After the fight, the 22-year-old Fundora discussed dedicating the fight to his promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, along with the trunks he wore to honor those who have and continue to suffer from COVID-19.
“My ring outfit tonight is dedicated to the COVID-19 victims,” said Fundora. “I just want to say, keep wearing your masks, wear your gloves and sanitize your hands so we can bring boxing back to the fans. I also want to dedicate this fight to my promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, who just won a big fight with cancer and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
In a middleweight special attraction on the broadcast, top prospect Joey Spencer (11-0, 8 KOs) dropped Shawn West (5-2, 3 KOs) twice on his way to a fourth-round stoppage victory.
“I felt great about my performance tonight,” said Spencer. “I did everything we had been working on. After the knockdown, I took my time and threw a good flurry. We knew he was tough, so I just stayed calm and took the right shot when it came. I think the experience I’ve had so far in my career showed through in this fight.”
Spencer showed a fierce body attack from the outset, hitting West with a big left hook to the body almost immediately in round one, landing 17 total body shots in the first two rounds. Just over a minute into round two, Spencer connected on a straight right hand to hurt West, eventually putting him down with a follow up combination.
West was able to make it through the round, showing enough accuracy on the counter attack to keep Spencer from pressing forward wildly. In round four, Spencer again connected with a picturesque right hand that hurt and wobbled West.
Spencer would follow up with another series of impressive combinations, eventually forcing referee Jerry Cantu to stop the bout 1:51 into the fourth round. Post-fight, Spencer credited extra film study and his strong team with in-ring improvements and making the seamless transition to the changes needed in fight preparations due to COVID-19.
“I studied everybody heading into this fight,” said Spencer. “That’s something that made a big difference. I used to study boxing as a hobby and got away from it the last couple years, mostly watching just my own fights. But I’ve watched a wide variety of fighters, from classic fighters, to current prospects. I watched a lot of Sugar Ray Leonard and Robert Duran, a lot of contrasting styles. I also watched a lot of Errol Spence, Jr., Caleb Plant and Shawn Porter, amongst others. There was no limit on how much I watched in this camp and I think it showed.
“I couldn’t do this if I didn’t have the family and the team that I have. Everyone plays a huge part and does something to keep the train moving. Tough situations like the pandemic are just another day for me.”
Following the broadcast on FOX, additional action on FS1 featured welterweight Justin DeLoach (19-4, 10 KOs) delivering a first-round knockout victory over previously unbeaten Livan Navarro (11-1, 7 KOs) 2:15 into the fight. The FS1 telecast also saw Edward Ortiz (11-0-2, 4 KOs) score a split-decision victory over Antonio Todd (7-4, 4 KOs) in their eight-round super middleweight matchup, with one judge seeing the fight 77-75 for Todd, overruled by two judges scoring the fight 77-75 for Ortiz.