By: Sean Crose
This is a good one.
Former undisputed bantamweight titlist Naoya Inoue will be facing WBC and WBO super bantamweight titlist Stephen Fulton on May 7th in Japan. Credit both fighters for taking this bout. Why? Because it’s a terrible risk for each man. Inoue is called the Monster for a reason, but he’s moving up in weight to face Fulton. Will his power carry over? If not he may be in some big trouble, for Fulton is an excellent fighter to begin with. As for Fulton, it shows a lot of guts to see the guy willing to square off with Inoue in Inoue’s homeland.
At 29 years of age, Inoue was ranked by Boxing Insider as being 2022’s Fighter of the Year. Indeed, the 24-0 fighter has stopped all but three of his opponents within the distance. Throw in sublime footwork and thunderous punching power and it’s clear why the man sits near the top of contemporary boxing’s heap. With world titles in three separate divisions, Inoue will occupy rarefied airspace should he best Fulton this spring in his homeland. Even in an era of many weight classes, to hold world titles in four divisions is a unique and special feat.
The 28 year old Fulton, on the other hand, makes up for what he lacks in power with an extremely impressive ring IQ. The fact that he only has 8 knockouts to his resume should not give anyone the wrong idea. His last two fights were victories over top opponents Daniel Roman and Branden Figueroa respectively. The fact that he’s going all the way across the world to fight someone as highly regarded as Inoue shows just how confident the Philly fighter is of his skill set. It seems the term “tuneup fight” doesn’t exist for the man who goes be “Cool Boy Steph.”
Again, this is a good one.
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