Ultimate Boxxer super-welterweight runner-up Lenny Fuller (9-1) takes a leap up in class in Boxing Connected’s next show in Maidstone on February 29.
The ‘Gypsy Warrior’, 25 from Chart Sutton in Kent, will clash with experienced champion Berman Sanchez (29-12-3) over eight rounds in the headlining fight of the Mote Park event on the quadrennial Leap Year date.
From Nicaragua, ‘La Cobra’ represents a big step up in levels for Fuller as he attempts to make a statement in his first fight of the year.
Sanchez kicked off his pro career in 2002 with six straight stoppage wins – five of those victims were unsuspecting debutants – and he only lost two from his first 25 fights.
His pro debut was scheduled over eight-rounds, but only went halfway, and he has continued his trail of destruction ever since, clocking up 21 KO’s from 29 victories. Even his last four wins have all ended early, the most recent of which coming in May last year.
The Central American won the WBA Fedebol super-featherweight title in his 30th contest and has shared the ring with world super-featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (37-1) and three-weight world champion Jorge Linares (46-5) in back to back contests.
With just 10 fights under his belt and less than two years in the pro ranks, Fuller confidently asserts that he is fully ready for the challenge ahead.
Speaking exclusively to British Boxing News, he said, “I watched him fight at York Hall [against Louis Greene] last November and you see someone and know they’re good but you know you can beat them.”
The 36-year-old, who now resides in Spain, has also gone the distance with two-time European titlist Edis Tatli (32-3) in August last year, as well as competing against the previous two EBU EU super-lightweight champions in current holder Yazid Amghar (23-0) and former holder Ennock Poulson (11-0).
Fuller says he feels incentivised by his worthy adversary, “Yeah, 100 per cent it gives you more motivation in training when the level is higher, you know how good they are, so you’ve got to be better. He’s been in with elite world level fighters – not just world level, but elite world level. It gives you a massive boost knowing that.
“I’m only trying to prove my point and show people how good I can be. I watch loads of Southern Area and English level boys and, to be honest, I’m ready for those fights now. It’s down to Joe [manager Joe Elfidh] and Lee [trainer Lee Page] and what they say, but I’m ready for those fights.”
The fight with Sanchez will be the Maidstone man’s first eight-round contest of his career, which he says he feels more than comfortable with, “I do eight rounds fine, I spar it all the time and I know it’s different sparring than fighting, but I do it fine, and the pace of the rounds slow down and you pick your shots better.”
Prior to this forthcoming fight, Fuller was back at his Mote Park stomping ground outpointing one of Britain’s best journeymen, MJ Hall (2-46-2), over four rounds in November on an MTK Global show.
He adopted a different approach to previous fights and switched stance constantly to confuse his southpaw challenger throughout the contest, who came in confidently off the back of two consecutive victories.
Fuller explained why, “It was just a run out before Christmas. I’ve been working on some things in the gym, so I was putting a few things in practise. He had won his last two fights before me, so he came to have a go, but I breezed through the fight comfortably.”
That ninth victory in his 10th fight got the 25-year-old back to winning ways, after he took his first loss just six weeks earlier in September in the Ultimate Boxxer super-welterweights final, live on BT Sport.
Fuller kicked off the campaign in style by scoring the quickest KO of the tournament within 32 seconds over unbeaten Kingsley Egbunike (4-0), followed by a unanimous points decision against Southern Area title contender Joshua Ejakpovi (13-1) in the semi’s, which set up a meeting with Rio 2016 Olympian Steven Donnelly (7-0) in the final.
Reflecting on the experience, he enthused, “It was brilliant, what a night! Kingsley Egbunike and his team were taking p*ss at the weigh in, they were shouting things and saying I was light work and just making little snidey comments, so I knocked him out!”
Fuller counts himself as a natural welterweight so was actually operating in the division above in the fast-paced, exciting tournament.
“The boys there on the day were weight cutting and looked in bad way, but I was fine, I ate breakfast that day, drinking water and was ok.”
Aside from his debut and the last fight, the welterweight has always fought against heavier opponents, even sharing the ring with light-heavyweight Scott Hillman in his fourth fight.
“I ain’t took the defeat to Steven Donnelly as a personal loss, he was a good fighter and the size of him! He was massive, he was a unit! I’d definitely do Ultimate Boxxer again, if it comes up.”
Trained by Lee Page, Fuller and his team believe his level for championship opportunities lies at welterweight and maybe even lower than that.
“We’re talking about campaigning at welter for championship fights or even super-lightweight if I can do it. I’ve got a real good nutritionist, Paul O’Neil, on board, who works with Archie Sharp and Hamzah Sheeraz, and he believes he can get me to 140lbs.
“I want to end the year fighting for Southern Area or some title. I definitely want to finish the year on a title fight, it’s going to be a good year.”
Fuller debuted on May 12, 2018 against Dale Arrowsmith (1-15-1), flooring him en route to a shutout points victory.
Despite his limited amateur background at Westry ABC, he was heavily supported in the unlicensed scene, where he won many titles and built up a big fanbase, which has allowed him to fight 10 times in 18 months.
His 11th contest falls on a date that only comes around every four years as he aims to make it memorable with arguably the riskiest fight of his career to date.
Joining him will be stablemate Grant Dennis (14-2), also an Ultimate Boxxer finalist, who will co-headline the ‘Back with a Bang’ event at Mote Park that also includes Martin Hillman (13-6); Charlie Shane (8-0); Brooklyn Tilley (1-0); Jimmy Peckham (1-0); Zeki Hussein (1-1); and Mick Mills (1-12-1).