Jason Moloney predicts knockout from Naoya Inoue in clash with Stephen Fulton for unified super bantamweight championship

Naoya Inoue has the chance to further cement himself as boxing’s pound-4-pound number 1 when he challenges Stephen Fulton for his WBC and WBO super bantamweight world titles in less than two weeks. 

The Japanese superstar moves up from 118 pounds were he became undisputed champion. He has the chance to become a four-weight world champion when Fulton visits his native Japan. 

WBO bantamweight world champion Jason Moloney collided with Inoue in 2020, succumbing to a 7th round knockout loss for the unified bantamweight championship at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. 

Moloney spoke exclusively to ProBox TV to give his opinion on the upcoming clash in Tokyo. 

“I’m super excited about the fight, you gotta give both fighters a lot of respect for making it happen.” Moloney said. “Obviously it is Inoue’s first fight at 122. For him to go after the best fighter in that division in his first fight is very exciting, a lot of people are excited to see what he can do in the new division. I think Fulton is a very good fighter and it is exciting because he brings a different style which will ask Inoue a few questions that we haven’t seen before. He’s the bigger guy, Fulton is a big 122 pounder. I think he spoke that he is going to move up, it will probably be his last fight at 122. 

“It is a challenge for Inoue in the sense that he is fighting a bigger guy than he is used to. And he is pretty slick, he’s pretty crafty Fulton. He’s got good movement, he’s quite a good counter puncher, good hand speed and he will test Inoue. It is an exciting fight for that reason but I don’t think he has enough in the kit to give Inoue too much trouble. That’s not taking anything away from Fulton, I just think Inoue is a very special fighter and I don’t see him losing for quite some time. I think we see him move through this new division pretty quickly. He will pick up two belts here in his first fight in the division and I think he will be undisputed before the end of the year. That is just how highly I rate Inoue.

Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs) first achieved world title status down at 108 pounds, 14 pounds above where he goes after more belts against Fulton. 

“Fulton will no doubt have a bit of a height and reach advantage, but nothing Inoue hasn’t seen before.” The Australian continued. “Inoue has come up against some tall guys like Jamie McDonnell and those sorts of guys back in the day. But he is a big guy! Inoue is not as big in his physical frame and will have a ceiling on how far he goes through the weight divisions, but I think he won’t have any trouble with 122. Inoue has got big thick legs, big thick calves and broad across the back. He will be able to move into this new division no problem, whether he can go beyond featherweight? That may be his limit in terms of size, but he was a strong bantamweight and cleaned up there. 

“For me he will just be too fast, too explosive and too technically good for Fulton. I think Fulton is a great fighter, both the [Brandon] Figueroa fight and the Daniel Roman fight are both great wins and he has beaten everyone they put in front of him, so you got to give him that respect. But, there are levels and Inoue is just a special, special fighter. People rank him in the top 3 of the pound-4-pound rankings, but I think this fight we will see just how good he is. This is that big name from America where he will get that real respect from everyone. I think when he becomes undisputed at 122, you have to put him right up there as the best pound-4-pound fighter on the planet at the moment. When you get hit by Inoue you feel it! I think he stops Fulton late in the fight. I think Inoue will catch him around round 8 or 9 maybe. I think the lack of power Fulton has got will be the downfall. He may have moments, he may even pick up a round or two, but I don’t think he has the power to stop or hurt Inoue. He would have to be perfect for every second of every round to get the victory. Inoue only has to be perfect for one second to win the fight. That is the advantage of having the power that man has.”