Stephen Fulton, Naoya Inoue Make Weight Then Engage In Chilling Staredown

By James Slater - 07/24/2023 - Comments

Fight fans, we have a fight. And it’s a big one. The hand wraps issue is no more (for now, apparently for good) and super-bantamweights Stephen Fulton and Naoya Inoue have weighed-in ahead of tomorrow’s rumble in Tokyo. Defending two-belt champion Fulton came in at a ready 121.9 pounds, while challenger and former three-weight ruler Inoue scaled an also ripped and ready 121.7; this the heaviest weight “The Monster” has ever weighed in his career.

The stakes are high going into this one, the fight seeing Fulton go “behind enemy lines,” as his trainer put it last week, with Inoue going for greatness by way of conquering a fourth weight division. And the importance of the fight, the magnitude of the fight, was captured with an intense, even chilling staredown the two warriors engaged in after stepping off the scale.

Weight-in results

• Stephen Fulton Jr. 121.9 vs. Naoya Inoue 121.7

• Robeisy Ramirez 125.7 vs. Satoshi Shimizu 125.7

• Kanamu Sakama 107.5 vs. Ryu Horikawa 107.8

• Yoshiki Takei 118.8 vs. Ronnie Baldonado 117.5

Taller man Fulton, 21-08) was met by an unblinking Inoue, the two men looking each other dead in the eye and not flinching one little bit. There was no silliness in the form of pushing or shoving, and neither man has even tried to come out with any trash talk, this due to the language barrier. But there is genuine animosity here, if more than a touch of mutual respect also.

YouTube video

Fulton would not break eye contact, and his challenger opponent felt exactly the same way. Fans are braced for something special in Tuesday. Inoue, 24-0(21) is the betting favourite, and this is no great surprise. Inoue is a proven talent to say the least, he carries very real dynamite in either hand, and Inoue has shown both brilliant boxing skills and a good chin. Fulton, though, fully believes his skills and his composure and ability to stick to his game plan (which he has not revealed, Fulton having been incredibly stingy when appearing for an open workout last week) will see him to victory.

The bookies do not agree, with Inoue being listed at -450 at time of writing, this via bet365 Sportsbook, and with Fulton listed at +350.

Will there be an upset in Japan this week, or will Inoue capture two more world titles as he goes ahead with his quest for all-time greatness?

Fulton’s sheer self-belief has not wavered one jot at this point, but we will have to see what happens if/when Inoue’s crippling punches make contact on the defending champ. If Fulton doesn’t go anywhere when hit with a solid Inoue shot, we will have ourselves a very, very interesting battle.

Who are YOU picking?

Pick: Inoue struggles with Fulton’s boxing and moving for a few rounds, before “The Monster” figures his man out and gets into his groove. Look for Inoue to get the stoppage win somewhere around the eighth round.