Naoya Inoue Stops Stephen Fulton To Become A Four-Division Champion

Naoya Inoue stopped Stephen Fulton in the eighth-round to become the new WBO and WBC super-bantamweight champion.

This was meant to be Inoue’s first real test against a seasoned veteran at the weight class, with Fulton being the naturally bigger fighter. And yet, it was anything but that.

The opening round saw both fighters trying to establish their dominance with the jabs. Fulton enjoyed some early success, but Inoue surprising outlanded the taller Fulton with jabs to the body and head, followed by rapid combinations.

Inoue dominated the second round, displaying his exceptional jabbing skills with remarkable speed and hand movement.

Fulton was on the defensive as Inoue relentlessly attacked both his head and body. The Japanese cornered Fulton twice, unleashing a barrage of shots, as he won both rounds.

Fulton occasionally applied some pressure, but his reluctance to throw showed his worry for Inoue’s quick counters. Blood began pouring from Fulton’s nose in the third, as the Japanese dictated the pace.

The American sought to regain control in the fourth, as he landed with a solid right hand. However, Inoue hit back with a powerful combination as both fighters exchanged at the bell.

Inoue continued to dominate in the fifth with more combinations. While Fulton did land with a solid right hand that snapped Inoue’s head back, the latter responded with a right hand of his own.

Fulton attempted to regain control of the centre in the next round by doubling up on his jab. However, Inoue’s reflexes negated any success Fulton had. The Japanese landed an uppercut, as both fighters threw while on the ropes.

As Inoue stepped on the gas, Fulton caught his opponent with a right hook after a double jab. But in truth, it was all too late as Inoue showed in the eighth.

A jab to the body was followed up by a huge right hand that sent Fulton staggering backwards. A left hook followed, as Fulton was on his way down.

Although he beat the count, Inoue unleashed numerous punches as a left hand prompted the referee to stop the fight.

Victory meant Inoue unified the super-bantamweight division, as he became a four-division champion.

His record moved to 25-0 with 22 KOs, as all eyes now turn to a potential undisputed fight with Marlon Tapales.

Reaction

“Everything I was thinking about this year was to fight him and become a four-division champion. Unfortunately I hurt myself in training camp and had to wait,” Inoue

“I want to fight Inoue because he is a great champion,” Tapales

“Let’s do this, this year,” Inoue

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