Inoue Beats Fulton To Become Unified Champ! Marlon Tapales Next?
The tension was palpable as unified junior featherweight champion Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton (21-1, 8 KO) faced multi-divisional champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) at a packed Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Fulton is someone who thrives on his versatility. Whatever style his opponent brings into the ring, Cool Boy Steph has had an answer. With the offer to fight for an Interim title at featherweight, Fulton bypassed to defend the junior featherweight titles against the Monster.
Inoue is arguably the cash cow of the lower-weight divisions. A former world champion at 108, 115, and 118lbs, he moved up in weight with hopes of winning a world title in a fourth-weight division. Blessed with speed and power, the Japanese superstar is one of the dynamic fighters in the sport.
This fight was filled with controversy. During the lead-up, Team Fulton accused Inoue of fighting with loaded gloves. Emotions were evident when both men had to be separated from one another during the weigh-in.
THE POWER OF THE MONSTER
After both fighters showed each other respect in the opening round, Inoue took the fight to the champion in the second. However, sensing he had to step it up, Fulton began to apply pressure in round three.
The key shot for Inoue was the jab. He consistently found Fulton with that punch, then connected with combinations. repeatedly. Fulton was fighting through a bloody nose by the middle rounds.
Early in the eighth, Fulton got hurt by an Inoue overhand right. Follow-up punches from Inoue put the unified champion on the mat. From there, you knew the end was near. The Monster went on a two-fisted assault, pouring on punches until Fulton went down for a second time in the round, with the referee waved off the fight.
In the ring with a bigger fighter with terrific boxing skills, Inoue was in control from the opening round. It was another impressive performance from 3kingsboxing.com’s now #1 fighter in the world! Next up for Inoue will likely be the other unified champion, Marlon Tapales, who joined Inoue in the ring during the post-fight interview.