WBO junior featherweight champion Stephen Fulton added the WBC champion previously held by Brandon Figueroa with a hotly contested majority decision victory over Figueroa in Las Vegas.
This fight certainly deserves consideration for the 2021 fight of the year as Figueroa continually walked forward, throwing and landing more punches as he forced the pace of the fight with Fulton surprisingly deciding to stand his ground and slug for most of the bout.
Figueroa did throw and land more but Fulton was landing the cleaner punches and landed the higher percentage of punches over the course of the fight.
I had Figueroa a 115-113 winner but I would have been OK with the same score for Fulton as the fight really was that close.
What I didn't care for was Figueroa's behavior after the fight in which he interrupted Fulton's postfight talk with Showtime's Jim Gray and whined about how he won the fight.
While I agreed with Figueroa's claim, the fight was far from the worst robbery of the year as Figueroa stated and things were close to being ugly before things calmed down a bit.
Fulton did verbally spar with Figueroa but he didn't cross the line and Fulton was far more classy in the affair.
I would love to see a rematch in which both fighters at first agreed to meet again but Figueroa seemed to demur when talking to Gray after Fulton left the ring.
It would be nice if Fulton could meet WBA and IBF champion Murodjon Akhmadaaliev and settle the best fighter in the division but I would say it's unlikely for now with rival promoters and mandatory obligations in a very solid division.
The undercards saw the likely next fight for Fulton as Ra'eese Aleem won an easy unanimous decision over Eduardo Baez.
No knockdowns in a good, not great affair with my scoring going for Aleem 98-92.
A fight between Fulton and Aleem seems to be a solid fight and one that should an excellent Showtime main event in 2022.
The opener was much more entertaining as undefeated bantamweight Gary Antionio Russell survived his toughest test from veteran Alejandro Santiago.
Russell took an early lead and seemed to be on his way to an impressive victory but Santiago took command in the middle rounds with the last rounds featuring many exchanges between the two in a fun fight to start the evening.
Russell took the majority decision that wasn't debatable with two scores of 96-94 for Russell and a 95-95 draw.
As in the main event, I scored a very close fight for the loser as I thought Santiago won 96-94 but I had no issues with Russell's win with the scores being very fair.
In the boxing challenge, I scored four points to Ramon Malpica's three to move my lead to 158-139.