Stephen Fulton vs. Naoya Inoue rescheduled for July 25 in Tokyo
Last week we received news that pound-for-pound star Naoya Inoue had suffered an injury postponing his challenge to WBC/ WBO junior featherweight titlist Stephen Fulton. The two had been scheduled to meet in Yokohama, Japan on May 7.
Today news surfaced that they will now meet at the Ariake Arena, Tokyo on Tuesday July 25.
Inoue told local reporters: “I’d like to so completely recover from a hand injury that I will show my best performance.”
Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs), rated No. 1 by The Ring at junior featherweight, worked his way into title contention by besting former titleholder Paulus Ambunda (UD 12), stopped previously unbeaten Mexican Isaac Avelar (KO 6) and used his skills to tame another unbeaten opponent in Arnold Khegai (UD 12).
The 28-year-old showcased his smooth boxing skills to beat Angelo Leo (UD 12) to claim the WBO title, and he showed grit by digging in deep when he added the WBC title by edging Brandon Figueroa (MD 12) in a hard-fought unification bout. Most recently, he sparkled against Daniel Roman (UD 12).
Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs), rated No. 2 by The Ring at pound-for-pound, devoured all before him en route to claiming world titles at 108, 115 and 118 pounds. The big punching Japanese “Monster” has lived up to his moniker, demolishing the likes of Omar Narvaez (KO 2), Jamie McDonnell (TKO 1), Juan Carlos Payano (KO 1) and Emmanuel Rodriguez (KO 2).
However, it’s his triumphs over four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire that provided Inoue with considerable acclaim. He edged Donaire (UD 12) in an instant classic that was later named Fight of the Year and stopped him in the second round of their rematch. The 29-year-old became the undisputed bantamweight champion when he dominated Paul Butler, stopping the Brit in 11 one-sided rounds. With nothing left to conquer at 118, Inoue decided to move up in weight in a bid to collect more hardware and accolades.
The mouth-watering matchup is arguably the best fight on the current boxing schedule. It matches two fighters in their primes. Fulton will have the opportunity to further legitimize himself as not just one of the best 122-pounders in the world but also one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. While Inoue will be looking to join Kazuto Ioka as the only four-weight Japanese male world champion and add another accolade to his already impressive resume.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].