Inoue-Fulton Kickoff Press Conference

Inoue to make ambitious invasion in 122lb division against Fulton

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By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Time will come soon. “The Monster” Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs), Japan, will have an ambitious shot at the WBC, WBO 122-pound belts against also unbeaten Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs), US, at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan, on May 7. Naoya, formerly undisputed bantam four-belt kingpin, will aim for his fourth division championship after he completely renounced all the 118-pound belts last month in order to have a crack against the ringwise Fulton. It was announced by Ohashi Promotions today (Tuesday) in Tokyo. Inoue, 29, confidently said, “I’m happy to have this event eventually announced publicly. It is a challenge to myself that I’ll invade into the super-bantam category and make myself in a tip-top condition. It truly motivates me that I’ll welcome the big fight at my first fight after moving up to the 122-pound class.”

Inoue described his target Fulton, saying, “He is a taller boxer with a more advantageous reach. It might be hard to finish him, but I’d like to concentrate to be victorious, I believe I am more powerful and faster than Fulton. I don’t know at this moment what game plan I will take against Fulton.

Naoya moved up to 115 from 108 in 2014, again shifts to 122 this year. He said, “I previously showed a good performance in the first bout after moving up to the new division. Moving up to 122 might—its motivation—will produce a great power in me. I’ll look forward to myself. My motivation is highest ever in my career.”

Stephen Fulton, also 29, appeared on a video, saying, “I didn’t like to be regarded as an escaping dog against Inoue. Each will climb up to the ring by preparing each fight plan. I believe I’ll be victorious against whoever my opponent may be. Please expect a fantastic show.”

Fulton is about two inches taller than Inoue, but he is not a hard-puncher like Inoue but depends on his speed and skills. It will be shown by NTT Docomo’s new streaming service named “Lemino” in Japan while it will be streaming live on ESPN+ in US.

Promoter: Ohashi Promotions.


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  • This is awesome! Goes up a weight class and there’re two unified champions – why not fight one of them! No one cares about promoters and alignments and any of that; just make the best fight that you possibly can!

  • Fulton can fight, but Inoue is a baaaaaaad cat with a heavy dose of monster. For now, I pick Inoue.

  • I’d really love to see him be the first 4 belt undisputed champ in two divisions. He certainly has the best chance of any out there right now. Living legend right here.

    • He does have a really good chance to do it, Usyk does as well and that would be an very giant note on your career if you could pull it off. No male has ever done that and only one female I think.

  • Inoue Rare 65% accuracy even mixing it on combo punching spells reverse gear for Fulton, but he excell in that but blocking mixing it up in retreat with inoue great footwork and straight up the middle with crisp right and left going to take it toll.
    But fulton smart the big money with inoue, and looking how long this fight took and it being broadcast in the USA ppv in the morning mean futon going to get his biggest payday. That what you get for haveing balls. Got that Spence and Crawford. LOL. We Been waiting for that fight in forums 15 years ago honestly. Their old man now.

  • This is why you gotta love a guy like Inoue. Goes up in weight and immediately fights top level opposition. Credit to Fulton too, classy comments and he’s got plenty of boxing ability.

    Looking forward to the fight. Let the best man win!

  • A bit more of punching power could make Fulton the favorite in this fight, but deprived of that, he will be obligated to fight a perfect fight every second, under a relentless atack from a fighter that has an endless gas tank. I believe Fulton can win this fight, but I believe more Inoue can stop him in the late rounds

      • Calling a professional fighter a “chicken.” Grow up. How many professional fights do you have under your belt?

  • Classic example of big puncher vs slick boxer without KO power. I see Inoue chasing him for 12 rounds trying to take his head and Fulton running for dear life

  • No ostentatious posturing for Inoue. In a well-fitted blue suit he brings style and a polished look to the kickoff press conference. He even has a smile for the camera – something hitherto rarely seen. Good for him for taking on the best in the division and good for Fulton to greet him in kind.

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