The WBC and WBO Super Bantamweight titles are on the line on June 4 at the Armory in Minneapolis. Stephen Fulton Jr defends his titles against the former WBA champion Daniel Roman who’s determined to again hold a world title.
Fulton Jr comes into this title defense having won all 20 of his professional fights. Whoever wins this bout will put them in a good position in their bid to become the unified champion at this weight. The WBA and IBF titles are currently both held by the unbeaten Murojdon Akhmadaliev, who is well known to Daniel Roman.
If Fulton Jr wants all four belts, he has to get past Roman in this title defense. He made his pro debut in 2014 but it wasn’t until 2019 that the American claimed his first world title. That was the less-respected IBO title which he won on points against Paulus Ambunda. He couldn’t stop his opponent, but all three judges gave the fight to Fulton Jr by a score of 120-107.
Getting past Fulton Jr isn’t going to be an easy task at all for Roman. A 12-rounder does look likely here, and it is the champion who is heavily fancied to win at odds offered of -450 with his challenger at +400.
The WBO title was won in his only fight of 2020. Again, it was a point win, this time over Arnold Khegai. Last year saw him fight twice, the first being a successful defense of his WBO title against Angelo Leo.
That set him up for a unification match with WBC champion Brandon Figueroa. He won the fight but only via a majority decision though with one of the judges surprisingly calling the fight a draw. Now comes a tough title defense with even tougher opposition most likely waiting in the wings
His opponent is also no stranger to having to wait for the verdict of the judges. Only one of his last seven fights has failed to go the distance. Roman hails from Los Angeles and has the wonderful nickname of ‘Danny the Baby-Faced Assassin.’ But can he kill off the hopes of Stephen Fulton Jr continuing his unbeaten pro record?
Roman made his professional debut in 2010 and after four fights, few would have predicted he’d be a future world champion. His second fight was only drawn and the fourth ended in defeat. Only eight of his first 11 fights were won but Roman then moved up a gear and embarked on an unbeaten run.
That saw him win the WBA version of the Super Bantamweight title in 2017 beating Shun Kobo in nine rounds. Roman added the IBF version of the world title beating TJ Doherty two years later. Then he ran into Murojdon Akhmadaliev in January 2020.
Roman lost a split decision but is convinced he won the fight. Since losing his titles, he’s had two wins on points against Juan Carlos Payano and Ricardo Espinoza Franco. Now comes his golden chance to get world title belts back around his waist.
A win over Fulton Jr would put him on track to get the rematch with Akhmadaliev that he so desires. Even better, there would be four titles on the line. Akhmadaliev defended his belts against Ronny Rios on June 25.