Japanese boxing big name Naoya Inoue strengthened his declare as the arena’s very best fighter irrespective of weight on Tuesday when he laid waste to Stephen Fulton to seize the WBC and WBO junior featherweight titles, turning into an international champion in a fourth other weight magnificence.
Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) ruled the motion from the outlet bell at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena, outboxing the taller, taller champion from Philadelphia over seven punishing rounds earlier than losing him early within the 8th. Fulton was once ready to overcome the depend however was once quickly dropped at heel below a hail of blows, prompting the referee to wave the struggle off on the 1:14 mark.
Less than a yr after making historical past by way of preventing Britain’s Paul Butler in the similar venue to unify all 4 global titles at bantamweight, the 30-year-old Inoue additional strengthened his pound-for-pound credentials in bettering to 20-0 with 18 knockouts in global championship fights.
Inoue’s stabbing jab, blinding hand pace and twitchy in-and-out motion afflicted Fulton from the primary spherical, making the champion seem tentative and not able to get off. Inoue outboxed his opponent badly within the opening levels, leaving him with a trickle of blood flowing from his nostril whilst in complete retreat all the way through the 3rd.
Even when Fulton (21-1, 8 KOs) loved uncommon wallet of good fortune, like when he strung in combination a few mixtures all the way through most powerful moments within the 5th spherical, Inoue answered in an instant and with prejudice. He countered the champion’s jab when he wasn’t outright beating him to the punch, touchdown concussive instantly rights and evading go back fireplace with clever protection.
Inoue completed the lawsuits early within the 8th, following an exact jab to the frame with a proper hand upstairs that dropped Fulton. The American beat the depend, however Inoue lunged in for the end and the referee accurately waved it off.
Tuesday’s long-awaited blockbuster between two unbeaten champions of their high was once first of all slated for May 7, however a two-and-a-half-month prolong was once compelled after Inoue injured his hand all the way through coaching camp.
“Everything I was thinking about was to fight him this year,” Inoue mentioned. “However, sadly, I were given injured, and I needed to put off this struggle. I’m sorry to my staff and Fulton’s staff, however thanks such a lot for accepting this struggle as soon as once more. I’m so glad presently.
The Filipino southpaw Marlon Tapales, who captured the opposite two main belts at 122lbs in April with a split-decision win over Murodjon Akhmadaliev in San Antonio, took Tuesday’s struggle from ringside. A showdown with Inoue to unify all 4 name belts at tremendous bantamweight may occur once November.