Fulton On Inoue: “I’m Going To Outclass Him; The Power Won’t Matter”

Stephen Fulton Excited to Face Naoya Inoue

Stephen Fulton confident he outclasses Naoya Inoue
Stephen Fulton (L), Naoya Inoue (Credit: Kyodo)

Stephen Fulton Confident He Outclasses Naoya Inoue in Japan

Next up for reigning unified junior featherweight champion Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) is a showdown with three-division world champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs). The bout will happen this spring in Inoue’s home country of Japan.

Fulton was a guest on The Last Stand podcast and discussed the upcoming battle. He revealed he was previously in negotiations for a rematch with one-time 122-pound champion Brandon Figueroa. But when Inoue’s name came up, he jumped on the opportunity.


Some may wonder why Fulton would go on the road to fight Inoue. After all, Cool Boy Steph is the defending champion, and Inoue is the one moving up in weight. He explained it’s about the challenge of defending the title against someone so highly regarded by fans and pundits.

“I need the excitement. Nothing is exciting anymore. I feel like this is when I come alive . . . Everyone is looking at me like, ‘oh, his back is against the wall. Why is the champion going over to Japan?’ . . . I called this fight back in 2020, and 2021 . . . now look where we at.”

Inoue is a cash cow in the lower-weight divisions, and boxing is a big business in Japan. The Monster is coming off an eleventh-round stoppage over Paul Butler in December 2022 to become the undisputed bantamweight champion. Word on the street is that Inoue earned $10 million for the victory over Butler.

In January 2023, Inoue vacated the bantamweight titles and announced he was moving to junior featherweight. So, while looking for a new challenge factored in Fulton’s decision to defend the title against Inoue in Japan, finances and a big payday probably played a role as well.


Monster Inoue has never faced someone with the boxing skills of Fulton. Cool Boy Steph has never been in the ring against someone with the pure punching power of Inoue. Ultimately, the junior featherweight champion feels he will go into enemy territory and leave the ring with the belts wrapped around his waist.

“I feel like I’m just gonna show swag in this fight, show style, show class. I feel like I’m going to outclass him. The power is not gonna matter to me . . . You’ve never seen somebody that can mix it up like I can. I have a style for every fighter.”

Fulton vs Inoue is one of the best fights of 2023. For hardcore fans, this is a legit super-fight in the lower-weight divisions.

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About Mike W.2010 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.