No Show, No Tell – Inoue And Fulton Both Keep It Brief In Open Workouts

By James Slater - 07/15/2023 - Comments

Ahead of their fast-approaching 122 pound title fight showdown, unbeaten super-bantams Naoya Inoue and Stephen Fulton have both engaged in the customary open workouts. Defending two-belt champ Fulton went first, appearing briefly before the gathered media yesterday, and “Monster” Inoue, who is moving up from his rule as unified bantamweight boss to challenge for yet more gold, had his workout today.

It’s safe to say neither man gave anything away before the rolling cameras. In fact, neither man stuck around for much more than just a few minutes. Fulton, 21-0(8) said yesterday that he “doesn’t like to show his training,” and he left the Ohashi Gym in Yokohama, Tokyo after a miniscule workout that saw the Philly fighter shadow box, hit the speed bag and then give the heavy bag a mere three whacks.

Clearly, Fulton doesn’t want to give anything of his game plan away. However, Fulton did say to the media in attendance that, in his opinion, “Naoya Inoue’s best asset is his excellent timing in punching rather than his power-punching. But I’ll be able to outbox him by fighting intelligently.”

Inoue, 24-0(21) didn’t do much more in his open workout, in fact he probably did even less. The 30 year old challenger (two years older than Fulton) jumped rope but as he was getting ready to shadow box, Inoue’s manager and promoter Hideyuki Ohashi ordered his fighter to stop his workout, this so as not to show Team-Fulton anything as they showed Inoue and his trainers zero yesterday. As the Japanese media put it, the “psychological warfare has begun.”

Like Fulton, Inoue had a few words for the media regarding possible/potential tactics. “By moving up to from 118 pounds to 122 pounds, I feel more comfortable,” he said. “I’m stronger and sharper. And I’ve also improved my speed.”

It seems to me we will see both guys looking to box and use their considerable ring IQ on July 25, not slug it out. The boxing and moving stuff is of course Fulton’s game, but Inoue is a superb boxer himself, not just a pure puncher. This much Fulton knows perhaps better than anyone. He will do come fight night.

This one really could prove to be the toughest fight yet for both superb fighters.