Stephen Fulton hopes to become the latest champion from the storied fight city of Philadelphia when he battles WBO super-bantamweight king Angelo Leo at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on January 23. Fulton believes he possesses “superstar quality” and will fulfil his boxing destiny in just nine days’ time, following in the footsteps of Philly greats like Bernard Hopkins, Joe Frazier and Matthew Saad Muhammad.

No.1 contender Fulton was scheduled to face Leo for the vacant WBO crown last August before the Philadelphian tested positive for Covid-19 on fight week. In Fulton’s absence, Albuquerque’s Leo (20-0, 9 KOs) outpointed last ditch sub Tramaine Williams to win the WBO belt via a clear, unanimous decision. 

Now, five months later, Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) is ready to seize his opportunity with both fists, having already defeated seven unbeaten fighters in just over six years as a pro. 

“To me, it means everything to be a world champion from Philadelphia,” said Fulton. “This is what I’ve been working for my whole career. To my city, it would show people from my neighbourhood that there’s a way out. But I don’t feel any pressure because of it. This sport teaches us the discipline to perform in moments like this. The pressure is just a part of my job.

“My streak of taking fighters’ ‘0’ is going to continue on January 23. Fighters have their thing that they’re known for: Gervonta Davis knocks people out, Chris Colbert shows off his flashy skills and I take fighters’ ‘0’s. Come fight night, we’ll both be prepared and ready. I’m ready to put on a show and I believe Leo will be ready to do the same.

“I’m one of the guys leading the new era of Philadelphia boxing, but I can’t get ahead of myself. I just have to stay smart, calm and do my job. It’s all about doing what I came there to do. 

“I am that next wave and I’m just ready to stamp it by getting this belt. I’m going to solidify what everyone already knew about me. I have the superstar quality in me and I’ll show it in this fight.”

Leo-Fulton will be broadcast live on Showtime in the US on January 23 at 9pm ET/6pm PT. 

Main image: Amanda Westcott/Showtime.