As the boxing world braces itself for the epic showdown between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford, another exhilarating match that has captured the hearts of true boxing enthusiasts is the upcoming clash between Stephen Fulton and Naoya Inoue. Set to take place on a Tuesday morning, this bout has the potential to rival even the most anticipated fights in recent history.
Stephen Fulton vs Naoya Inoue
WBC/WBO Spr Bantamweight Titles (Fulton defending)
Tues, Jul 24, 2023
Ariake Arena, Koto-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
ESPN+, Sky Sports Action
Fulton vs Inoue Time
The fight will take place in Japan on Naoya Inoue’s home turf. The main event’s start time, however, poses a challenge for viewers outside the region, with the ESPN+ main event more likely to happen around 7:30 a.m. ET (4:30 a.m. PT) on Tuesday morning in the United States. Give or take 30 minutes if you plan to watch.
Don’t be fooled by other sites’ generic listing of 4:30 a.m. ET as the start time as that’s when the card itself begins.
Stephen Fulton – The Undefeated Champion
Stephen Fulton, boasting an impressive record of 21 wins and 8 knockouts, has become a force to be reckoned with in the super bantamweight division. His skill and finesse in the ring have earned him the WBO and WBC super bantamweight titles, making him a formidable opponent for anyone daring to challenge his reign.
Naoya Inoue – The Japanese “Monster”
On the other corner stands the legendary Naoya Inoue, a boxing prodigy hailing from Japan. With a flawless record of 24 wins and a staggering 21 knockouts, Inoue has established himself as one of the most dominant fighters in the world. Having recently become the first undisputed bantamweight champion in 50 years and reigning as a three-weight world champion, he is undoubtedly a force to be feared.
While the boxing community acknowledges the grandeur of the Spence vs. Crawford match, there is a unique sense of anticipation surrounding Fulton vs. Inoue. This fight is not merely a clash of champions; it is a battle of contrasting styles and unparalleled skills.
Clash of Styles
Fulton’s Technical Brilliance
Stephen Fulton’s prowess lies in his technical brilliance. He moves with finesse, strategically assessing his opponent’s weaknesses while delivering precise punches with surgical accuracy. His defensive acumen often frustrates his rivals, leaving them unable to penetrate his guard.
Inoue’s Explosive Power
Naoya Inoue, aptly nicknamed the “Monster,” brings an entirely different dimension to the ring. His raw power and devastating knockout ability have earned him a fearsome reputation. Inoue possesses the uncanny ability to end a fight with a single punch, and his relentlessness inside the ropes has been a spectacle to behold.
The Importance of the Fight
Both fighters have a lot at stake in this highly anticipated bout. For Fulton, a victory over a boxer of Inoue’s caliber would solidify his position as one of the best in the division and open up doors to bigger opportunities on the global stage.
As for Inoue, a win against Fulton would further cement his legacy as one of the greatest boxers of his generation. Moving up from 118 to 122 pounds to challenge for yet another accolade, Inoue is determined to prove his worth as a true pound-for-pound contender and, perhaps, one of the early, leading contenders for Fighter of the Decade.
Inoue vs Fulton odds (Advantage Inoue)
Before diving into stats, let’s understand the odds. As of Monday morning, Naoya Inoue was a -400 favorite, implying a win probability of 80%. On the other hand, Stephen Fulton was the underdog at +280. These odds give you an idea of how bookmakers perceive the fighters’ chances of winning.
A bet on Inoue at -400 means you would have to wager $400 to win $100, while a $100 bet on Fulton at +280 could potentially yield $280 in winnings.
Thoughts on the odds from an informed fan
Bryan Fonseca of Action Network insists that while the temptation to pick Inoue by knockout is strong, it’s essential to consider the caliber of his opponent. Fulton is arguably the most skilled fighter Inoue has faced to date. Given Fulton’s smart approach and ability to avoid prolonged inside exchanges, he thinks the fight is likely that this fight will go the distance.
Fonseca likes a unanimous decision for Inoue, with a scorecard around 116-111, and believes Inoue’s versatility and relentless pursuit, combined with a few knockdowns along the way, may ultimately tip the scales in his favor.
A-Side Fighter/ Fighting at home / Fighting Style
Don’t be surprised if Inoue gets a little home-cooking from judges. Fans will cheer the loudest when he punches. And regardless of whether he lands cleanly, judges might be swayed a bit by the crowd noise and Inoue’s presence as he’s one of the most popular fighters in the sport.
Second, Naoya Inoue, like Canelo Alvarez, has a blistering crowd-pleasing style that can resonate with fans and judges alike. He fights like a “Monster” in a very appealing way.
Although Fulton is the defending champion, the onus will be on him to do a little more to win. A very close fight or one that could be won by either fighter will likely be awarded to Inoue.
Inoue vs Fulton Stats
Stephen Fulton, 21 wins, 0 losses, and 0 draws, 8 KOs
Naoya Inoue, 24 wins and 0 draws, 21 KOs
Ages: Inoue is 30, Fulton 29
The statistics indicate that Inoue has a significant power advantage, with an 88% knockout percentage compared to Fulton’s 38%. However, Fulton’s strategic approach and undefeated record make him a formidable challenge for Inoue.
Stephen Fulton is currently ranked number 1 by the RING at super bantamweight, which speaks to his dominance and standing in the division.
Inoue holds a 1-inch reach advantage over Fulton but the latter is 2 inches taller.
In terms of recent activity, Inoue has been more active than Fulton, with his last fight being 7 months and 11 days ago, while Fulton’s last outing was 1 year, 1 month, and 20 days ago.
Inoue is slightly more experienced, debuting in 2012 while Fulton debuted 2 years later. Fulton has fought 5 more professional rounds than his opponent, 143 to 138.
Inoue truly exemplifies excellence in the boxing ring, displaying near-flawless skills. However, his strategic advantage lies in his ability to effectively restrict the ring space and apply pressure on Fulton, who is undeniably talented. To gain an upper hand, Fulton must be cautious and avoid engaging directly with the formidable Japanese star. Instead, he should focus on skillfully dissecting Inoue’s tactics from a safe and comfortable distance.
If Fulton can successfully employ his speed, rhythm, and master-class movement and frustrate Inoue, it’ll be a long night for the Japanese star.
Look for Fulton to try to ‘make him miss and make him pay’ and take the crowd out of the fight early. And somewhere in the first 3 rounds, expect Fulton to unleash some power stuff of his own in order to get Inoue’s respect and tame his aggression.
Inoue, as the challenger, will be stepping up in weight. This could favor Fulton.
Inoue has faced only one undefeated opponent ever. Fulton, however, is 9-0 with 2 KOs against fellow undefeated fighters.
Fulton hasn’t faced anyone as good as Inoue, but the same could be said in the reverse.
Inoue, as a crowd-pleasing A-side fighter who is fighting at home, will likely get the benefit of the doubt in close rounds – or rounds that are uneventful.
Inoue’s recent performances demonstrate his dominance and ability to finish fights convincingly.
The clash between Stephen Fulton and Naoya Inoue is more than just a matchup of records; it is a fight that will test their mettle and skill as they strive for victory. Both fighters bring their undefeated streaks and a hunger for success, making this battle a true clash of titans.
As boxing fans eagerly await the bell to signal the start of the fight, one thing is certain: the outcome will be determined by the fighters’ determination, skill, and ability to seize the moment when it matters most.
Who ya got, fight fans?