Defending champs Fulton, Ramirez arrive in Japan

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Boxing Beat


Thick-bearded Santa Claus-like WBC, WBO 122-pound champ Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs), 28, arrived on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan to put his belts on the line against also unbeaten Japanese “Monster” Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs), 30, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo on July 25. Fulton confidently said, “I’m in great shape, and I’ve come to win and defend my titles.” Will Santa Fulton bring a gift to the hungry Monster who is eager to win his fourth division title?


Also arrived here today (Wednesday) WBO featherweight ruler Robeisy Ramirez (12-1, 7 KOs), 29, who will face 2012 Olympic bantam bronze medalist Satoshi Shimizu (11-1, 10 KOs), an elongated Japanese southpaw at 37, on the same bill as Fulton and Inoue will collide. Having dethroned Isaac Dogboe this April, the WBO 126-pound champ Ramirez previously won the Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016. It will be a confrontation of the ex-Olympians to be staged by Ohashi Promotions.

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  • I have a lot of respect for Fulton. He’s here to win and could have easily moved up in weight (he’s already fought higher). He knows beating Inoue means opportunity, recognition etc. the problem is his style is to throw a lot punches per round which will create opportunities for Inoue to counter since Fulton’s power will not be a deterrent. The question is how much stronger is Fulton? How long can he take the power of Inoue? I’m thinking Inoue by KO around 8 or 9

  • How is Fulton going to win a 12 round decision in Japan? Let’s say he doesn’t get floored (even 1 time), he’d have to win 8 rounds very clearly to maybe get a draw.
    You never know, maybe he’d floor Inoue and win lots of rounds. A Fulton stoppage win very unlikely.

  • For me, this is one of the coolest fights of the year and I’m so happy they got it together. You lean Inoue, of course, but I don’t think anyone has an easy time with Fulton below 135 or so. If Inoue does pull it off, I think he then has a significant claim for being THE best small fighter the sport has ever seen.

  • I give Fulton a lot of credit. He’s clearly not a knockout artist and he’s fighting in Japan in hopes of winning a decision against a Japanese fighter. Hopefully no more articles from This Joe Koizumi character. Don’t disrespect champ with “Santa Fulton” lol.

  • Fulton is becoming one of my favourite fighters. He takes on tough competition and this is a big time move here. He has all the tools to make this a success for him and his team. That said Inoue is seemingly in the part of his career where everything is falling into place for him. I think this could be the best matchup of the summer.

  • I like Inoue. He is a beast, but the level of opposition in the lower weights has been pretty poor the last few years. I’ll be impressed if he beats Fulton, but Fulton isn’t a forgone conclusion. I wonder what vitamins this kid uses. Is there drug testing. The power he has been able to keep as he keeps moving up in weight isnt normal.

    • There’s been 54 3-division champions in boxing, many who carried their power up with them. When you got it you got it.

  • Apparently, he’s been using the same stuff Pacman used or a reasonable facsimile to bring that power up in weight. True, tough for Fulton to win a decision in Japan, but there is more to power in that ring, skills pay the bills, and Fulton has some real skills. Although Inoue iced a 40 year old Nonito Donaire, he went to deep water with a 39 year old Donaire. Fulton is a whole different plateau then an old Donaire. Going with Cool Boy!

  • Japanese judges are very tough you gotta very very agressive for to barely win by decicion in Japan the best is to look for ko otherwise you against the score cards

  • Now this is the first time Inoue will fight in this division Inoue start at light fly as a champion then bantam now super bantam my respect for Inoue to f he beats Fulton

  • Inoue is a mean offensive machine.

    If Fulton had decent to good power, I would pick him to win. If Fulton had the ability to impose his physical will with more aggression, I would pick him to win.

    Inoue’s punches are sharp and powerful. Inoue will also display more aggression than Fulton. I believe Inoue’s sharp punches, power and aggression will limit Fulton’s offensive output. Inoue’s offensive output will win the crowd and the judges…I pick Inoue to win.

    If anybody has been to Japan, let’s hope Fulton maintains focus until the sound of Round 1. I hope Fulton reviewed Mike Tyson’s “journey” to Japan.

  • It should be a good fight, revealing how good Fulton really is. We already know that Inoue is great. I predict another knockout win for Inoue.

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