Gabriela Fundora stops Arely Mucino, wins first world title

Gabriela Fundora threw punch after punch, finding the face and body of IBF flyweight champion Arely Mucino over and over again. It was clinical from the opening bell until the fight was stopped less than 10 minutes later.

Fundora (12-0, 5 KO) scored two knockdowns en route to a fifth-round TKO victory over Mucino to win the IBF flyweight belt in her first title fight.

"We just stayed calm," Fundora said in the post-fight interview on DAZN. "We're not going to go rushing into the fight. That's not smart. So we just stay calm, stay focused and stay in attack.

"And honestly at the end of the first round, we saw that she was hurt so I knew from there it was going to be a long night."

A long night, at least, for Mucino (32-4-2, 11 KO), who was making the first defense of the title. She had also held the IBF, WBC and WBO flyweight belts earlier in her career.

This was Mucino's first loss since 2015 and the second stoppage loss in her career -- she lost the IBF belt the first time in a second round knockout against Ava Knight in 2011.

This fight took a little longer, but was a high-level performance from the 21-year-old Fundora, ESPN's No. 5 flyweight and a rising star in the sport since she turned pro at age 18. Fundora landed 136 of 305 punches throughout the four-plus rounds -- a 45% connect rate -- while Mucino landed 31 of 177 punches.

It was the third win in as many fights for Fundora in 2023, and her first stoppage since last April. Mucino, ESPN's No. 2 flyweight, was also the toughest opponent Fundora had faced in only her third 10-round fight.

Trained by her father, Freddy Fundora, and often working out with her brother, former WBC interim junior middleweight champion Sebastian Fundora, they had been angling for this moment for over a year. And now, it finally came.

After the victory, she said her mom had cannolis ready to celebrate in their home outside Bakersfield, California.

"I'm just going to go enjoy that, enjoy this belt and enjoy the victory with my loved ones and my family," Fundora said. "Take each step as it comes."