Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue & WBC/WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton are in talks for a fight in the spring in Japan.
Last month, Inoue defeated WBO 118-lb champion Paul Butler by an 11th round knockout to become the undisputed champion at bantamweight.
It took Inoue four years to become the undisputed champion at 118 lbs after winning his first belt in that weight class in 2018.
This time, Inoue could collect all four belts quickly because two fighters hold the titles, and he could potentially become the undisputed champ in two fights if everything works in his favor.
Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs) vacated his four bantamweight titles recently to move up to 122 to go after a second undisputed championship, beginning with the unbeaten Fulton’s two belts.
Assuming the fight gets made, Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) will be put in a difficult situation, traveling to Japan to defend his WBC & WBO super bantamweight titles on Inoue’s home turf in front of his fans.
If the 28-year-old Fulton defeats Inoue overseas, it would transform him into one of the biggest stars in North America and open up opportunities for other big fights.
Fulton needs a big win like this to catapult him to the top of the pound-for-pound lists, potentially making a PPV attraction.
Unified junior featherweight champion Stephen Fulton and former undisputed bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue are in talks for a title bout in Japan this Spring, sources tell @MikeCoppinger. pic.twitter.com/PlHeCO09fP
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) January 18, 2023
In his recent fights, Fulton has beaten Daniel Roman, Brandon Figueroa, and Angelo Leo by 12 round decisions. He’s looked great in all the fights.
As for the 29-year-old ‘Monster’ Inoue, he has recent victories over Paul Butler, Nonito Donaire, Aran Dipaen, and Michael Dasmariñas.
Inoue’s last two victories over Butler and Donaire were especially impressive with the way he chopped down these two excellent fighters, making them look average with the ease with which he knocked them out.
Fulton could be up against it by traveling to Japan to fight Inoue in his backyard because he’s not a big puncher and will need to count on the judges scoring the contest fairly for him to win.
With Fulton venturing into Inoue’s backyard in Japan, hopefully, we don’t see a controversial decision. Fulton has better boxing skills, work rate, and size, but we don’t know if he can handle the power of ‘Monster’ Inoue.
If Inoue can’t score a knockout, this fight will go the distance, and we’ll need to hope the judges don’t make a mess of things by scoring it in a weird way that makes no sense.