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Stephen Fulton vs. Brandon Figueroa II on February 25th on Showtime in Minneapolis

Image: Stephen Fulton vs. Brandon Figueroa II on February 25th on Showtime in Minneapolis

By Sam Volz: Stephen Fulton will be moving up to 126 to battle Brandon Figueroa in a rematch for the interim WBC featherweight title on Showtime on February 25th at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dan Rafael is reporting the news on his Substack site of WBC/WBO super bantamweight champion Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) moving up to featherweight to battle former WBA & WBC 122-lb champion Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KOs) in a rematch.

WBC title expected to be vacated

The WBC featherweight belt is being freed up due to champion Rey Vargas going up to 130 to battle O’Shaquie Foster for the vacant WBC super featherweight title next month on February 11th in San Antonio, Texas.

If Vargas wins, he’ll need to make a decision whether he wants to keep his WBC 130-lb belt or return to 126 to continue defending his title in that weight class.

Returning to the 126-lb division would mean that Vargas will need to defend his WBA featherweight title against the Fulton-Figuera 2 winner.

Assuming Vargas vacates his WBC featherweight title, the winner of the Fulton vs. Figueroa II fight would be elevated to full champion. In other words, the WBC interim 126-lb title they’re battling over on February 25th will be upgraded to the full belt.

On November 27th, Fulton defeated Figueroa by a 12 round majority decision in a unification match in Paradise, Nebraska. Afterward, Figueroa was less than pleased about the outcome of the fight.

Fulton will need to vacant his WBC 122-lb belt

Nothing has been said yet about Fulton needing to choose whether to keep his WBC 122-lb title or 126-lb belt if he defeats Figueroa for the interim strap on February 25th. It makes sense that Fulton will be presented with the same situation Vargas, needing to decide which division title to keep.

If Fulton vacates his WBC super bantamweight belt, he’ll miss out on a nice payday fight against superstar Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue.

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On the positive side, Fulton will dodge a likely defeat by vacating the WBC 122-lb belt because he would be dealing with a highly likely knockout loss against the KO artist ‘Monster’ Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs), who recently become the undisputed champion at bantamweight by stopping WBO champion Paul Butler last month on December 13th in Tokyo, Japan.

In moving up to featherweight, Fulton’s main immediate threats are Mark Magsayo, Mauricio Lara, Gary Russell Jr, Michael Conlan, and Josh Warrington.

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