Sebastian Fundora is hoping that an impressive upset win over Tim Tszyu in Las Vegas on Saturday might help unlock a space in the International Boxing Hall of Fame for his fight manager, Sampson Lewkowicz.

Fundora was preparing to face Serhii Bohachuk in an earlier slot on the bill before the call came less than two weeks ago informing him there was now a place in the main event, if he wanted it.

Fundora did not think twice, and since then Sampson has let him know what stakes are particularly important – and it might not just be Tszyu’s WBO junior middleweight title and the vacant WBC belt his manager has referred to.

“He’s been telling me over and over again, when we become world champion that’s going to get him in the Hall of Fame,” Fundora said with a smile. “This Saturday, I said, ‘Get ready, Sampson. You’re going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.’”

Fundora was speaking at today’s public workouts at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where he did some padwork with his father and trainer, Freddy Fundora, with his titleholder sister Gabriela Fundora watching on.

“It took like a millisecond,” Fundora said of keenly accepting the late-notice gig. “We were ready for that opportunity. We were already fighting for the WBC vacant, they threw in the WBO, and that was a possibility we couldn’t pass over.”

Fundora is a threat, but he has had a long spell out of the ring and lost his last fight, so he can consider himself fortunate to be in a fight of such magnitude. He might have been beating Brian Mendoza last April, but he ultimately became the victim of a Knockout of the Year contender in Round 7.

“More of a learning experience – it was a reminder,” Fundora said of the loss. “In this sport, you cannot make mistakes. And if you do, you pay for it.” 

According to Fundora, though, Tszyu is the one who has to make most of the adjustments in preparation. Tszyu was training for Keith Thurman, a former welterweight who was moving up, and now he’s fighting an opponent taller than most heavyweights.

“That’s just an everyday thing for me,” Fundora said, smiling as he talked about being the bigger man. “I’m always taller than everybody, so it’s just another day of work.”

Then, discussing how his menu changed from Bohachuk to Tszyu, he said things were not quite so different.

“They’re both similar, Bohachuk being a bit taller, of course,” Fundora said. “But other than that, you have a pressure, hard-hitting, orthodox fighter in Tim Tszyu – same as Bohachuk.”

Fundora is relishing the opportunity. While Tszyu is confident and assured, Fundora is excited.

“This is a big fight,” he said. “This is the first time with Amazon Prime working with PBC, so this is going to be the opener for boxing of the future. … This is where I start my legacy.

“This is a dream come true. The fact that I’m fighting on a stage like this in an event like this, on pay-per-view, Las Vegas, T-Mobile Arena – this is a dream come true.

“This is big. My father had his first world champion six months ago with my sister. We’re going to do it again this Saturday; he’s going to be coach of the year, in my eyes.”

The Tszyu-Fundora winner will be the major player at 154, and the challenger is not completely certain that the Australian favorite hasn’t taken his eye off the ball amid all the talk surrounding a future fight with Terence Crawford.

“Of course, you know, I don’t really care what Tim Tszyu does,” Fundora said. “I’m focused on this fight right here. This is how I become a world champion.

“This is a unified fight at 154. This is the best fight at 154, this is going to crown the new king at 154.”