Philly Boxing History

JANUARY 23, 2021




West Philly's Stephen Fulton became the 33rd Philadelphian to win a world championship when he defeated Angelo Leo by 12-round unanimous decision at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, on this day in 2021. The bout was a closely fought battle with Fulton, known as an exceptionally skilled boxer from the outside, electing instead to wage a trench war against the champion. For the first four rounds, Fulton's strategy seemed risky, but by round five "Cool Boy Steph" was clearly beating Leo at his own game. The fight remained competitive for the entire twelve rounds, but as Leo lost steam, Fulton's attack surged.

Fulton dominated the fight from round five to twelve, and won a wide-margin unanimous decision to capture his first world title belt. The punch statistics at the end of the bout indicated that the Philadelphian had thrown nearly 1,200 punches during the fight. Fulton had not fought in nearly one year (1/25/20), but he showed no signs of rust in his impressive title-winning effort. The victory improved Fulton's record to 19-0, with 8 KOs. Leo lost for the first time as a professional and left with a 20-1, 9 KOs. record.

The pair were originally matched to fight for the vacant WBO junior featherweight title on August 1, 2020. However, the week of the fight, Fulton and a few of his team members tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to pull out of the fight. Leo went on to defeat late replacement Tramaine Williams by unanimous decision to win the belt. Fulton was named as Leo's mandatory challenger, and the January 23rd date was eventually set.

At the time of his win, Fulton was the the only current Philadelphia world champion, filling the one year gap created when both Julian Williams and Tevin Farmer lost their titles in January of 2020. 


  1928 - George Godfrey KO1 Joe White at Atlantic City, NJ

  1936 - Johnny Marcelline KO1 Lou Puglese at the Olympia in South Philly
  1939 - Roy Lazer W10 Leroy Haynes at Newark, NJ
  1953 - Henry 'Toothpick' Brown W8 Charlie McGarrity at St. Nicholas Arena in New York
  1979 - Skinny Jimmy Rothwell W8 Bobby Drewery at the Blue Horizon in North Philly
  1979 - Gary Hinton W8 Michael Ross at the Blue Horizon in North Philly
  2021 - Stephen Fulton W12 Angelo Leo at the Mohegan Sun in CT (Won WBO 122 lb Title)
  1971 - Tommy O'Toole