Will Naoya Inoue Battle Akhmadaliev Or Fulton At 122 In 2023?

Naoya Inoue To Challenge a Unified Champion at 122 Next?

Naoya Inoue could face Murodjon Akhmadaliev or Stephen Fulton in 2023
(clockwise from left) Naoya Inoue, Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Matchroom Boxing), Stephen Fulton (Showtime)

Naoya Inoue Moving Up Adds Spice to Super Bantamweight Title Talks

Newly crowned undisputed bantamweight champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue (23-0, 20KO) powered through former WBO champion Paul Butler (34-3, 15KO) for the divisional crown. Inoue’s announcement of moving up to super bantamweight means a showdown with the top dogs could be next in 2023.

RELATED: Naoya Inoue Easily Becomes Undisputed! Looks Towards 122!

In the buildup for the undisputed showdown, Inoue stated this was going to be his last appearance in the division. During the post-fight interview, he announced that super bantamweight was the next stop.

(Translated from Japanese)

“In the final chapter of the bantamweight class on December 13, I finally made it. I was able to make this a final goal of becoming an undisputed world champion.”

“I made this path, and now I am considering changing my division to the super bantamweight class.”

Naoya Inoue, undisputed bantamweight champion


Social media is about to explode as fans play matchmaker with the two top dogs at super bantamweight. Inoue moving up means that both unified champions, Murodjon “MJ” Akhmadaliev and “Cool Boy Steph” Stephen Fulton, are in play.

MJ (11-0, 8KO) has pretty much been radio silent since stopping Ronny Rios on June 25. The Uzbekistani fighter captured the unified title by defeating Daniel Roman in 2020. In 2021, Cool Boy Steph (21-0, 8KO) had an amazing run in becoming a unified champion with back-to-back victories over WBO champion Angelo Leo and WBC champion Brandon Figueroa.

The boxing community was hoping to see the two unified champions square off against each other. After defeating Rios, Akhmadaliev proclaimed to have no problems facing his counterpart. Fulton quickly took to social media, demanding to make the fight happen.

This situation was already a ticking time bomb, and throwing Inoue in the mix has the boxing community waiting to see the fireworks.

By: Bo Bland

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Garrisson Bland - Head of Public Relations/Senior Journalist. Garrisson is the Head of Public relations for 3kingsboxing.com as well as a senior writer. He is also the host of YouTube boxing show "Truth And Facts Sports Talk."