Is Naoya Inoue versus Stephen Fulton Jr., is a super fight that the lower weights have been yearning for flying under the radar?
The short answer is - probably. One of the best fights on paper that pit, Fulton Jr., who holds two of the four world titles in the division, the WBC and WBO, is widely considered the best of the division, yet the three-division world champion, Inoue, is already a hall-of-fame boxer, who recently became undisputed at bantamweight - and now is moving up to yet another weight class to fight the best fighter in the division.
Though the fight between the two which takes place on Tuesday, July 25th, in Japan, will be for the most hardcore of hardcore fans. It is a pivotal fight for the landscape of boxing. Given the severity of the fight, and how the result will change one of the pugilist's career, Fulton has relocated for the time being to Los Angeles, California, as he has been seen working with Malik Scott, and spotted various boxing gyms in the L.A. area including the prestigious Wild Card Boxing Gym.
In the build-up to the fight neither fighter is talking - as the silence is deafening. Fulton Jr., looked to be a superstar fighter in the Premier Boxing Champions stable, but has seen an awkward turn of events - as a hard fight with Brandon Figueroa that was razor-close that went his way, was followed by a fight with Daniel Roman, a former world champion, who promptly retired after the fight. Fulton, who has fought a tough stretch of opponents was inactive in 2022 fighting only once. Once he returns to the ring, he will have been out of the ring for over a year as he will be coming in on a 13-month lay-off.
The issue is - we live in a world of stuff, noise, and over-promoting. The thought of two fighters training hard and not voicing their ‘beefs’ with each other, or doing outlandish antics - sadly will get pushed to the back burner.
Add to it, that Inoue has only fought in the United States three times as a professional, and despite being a pound-for-pound level fighter, a lot of fans are unaware of Inoue - with some even feeling as though they are being forcibly told how to perceive the fighter. Inoue is a lower-weight fighter with gifts rarely seen in the lower weights. Inoue has power, but not just the timing that we are most accustomed to seeing from higher-weight fighters like Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr., the only thing holding him back has been his exposure to the United States and the United Kingdom.
Now against Fulton Jr., Inoue has a case to position himself as potentially the greatest fighter in the modern era, as he looks to become a four-division world champion.
Fulton, on the other hand, has a criminally underrated resume defeating Adam "Blunose" Lopez and Joshua Greer Jr., essentially in developmental fights. His win over Angelo Leo was one-sided, yet expectations seemed to move back a bit when he had a very hard fight with Brandon Figueroa. Since the Figueroa fight, Futlon Jr. has only fought once and that was against former champion, Daniel Roman.
For Fulton Jr., he is largely unappreciated for the road he took to the world title, and his willingness to make such a risky fight happen - even traveling to Japan for the bout.
As we get closer will we start to see and hear more about this bout, which could crown the best fighter in the sport of boxing?