Naoya Inoue has suffered a training injury, resulting in his May 7th title challenge of WBC/WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton Jr being postponed until the summer.
According to Mike Coppinger of ESPN, the ‘Monster’ Inoue’s injury wasn’t disclosed for their previously scheduled May 7th fight at the Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.
Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) says they have a “date” for rescheduling the fight, but he’s not saying when that’ll be.
Some boxing fans on social media believe the 29-year-old Inoue has lost his nerve and is ducking out of the fight to avoid a loss. That’s hard to believe, given all Inoue has accomplished during his 11-year professional career.
The Japanese fighter Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs) is highly ambitious and goal-oriented, winning three division world titles and recently capturing the super bantamweight undisputed championship last December.
Inoue’s sole purpose in moving up to 122 is to become a four-belt champion in that weight division and become a two-time undisputed champion, which is rarely done.
We got a date relax it’s still happening
— 100 Billion (@coolboysteph) March 21, 2023
When Inoue finally returns from his injury, he’ll challenge Fulton, 28, for his WBC & WBO super bantamweight titles. Hopefully, the fight does happen, as when you’ve got a situation where a Top Rank fighter [Inoue] is facing a PBC guy [Fulton], you just never know.
The 29-year-old Inoue has looked incredible lately, destroying 40-year-old Nonito Donaire in two rounds in their rematch last June and then stopping WBO bantamweight champion Paul Butler in the 11th round last December for the undisputed 118-lb championship in Tokoyo, Japan.
Butler actively ran around the ring the entire fight until Inoue trapped him and knocked him out in the 11th round.
For his part, Fulton has looked brilliant, beating Danny Roman, Brandon Figueroa, and Angelo Leo in his last three fights.
The win over Figueroa was a highly impressive performance by Fulton, beating a very good fighter easily. If Fulton fights like that against Inoue, he’ll have an excellent chance of winning.
We don’t know how Inoue will handle fighting in a new weight class against arguably the best fighter in the division in his first fight. Inoue might live to regret his decision to move up in weight or choosing not to get acclimatized at the weight before taking on Fulton.
It shows you how confident Inoue has become after winning world titles in three weight classes. If Inoue had struggled, he wouldn’t be rushing into a fight with Fulton.