By Chris Williams: Unbeaten Stephen Fulton & Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue will be battling it out six days from now for Stephen’s WBC & WBO super bantamweight titles on July 25th at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Naoya is kind of hot-headed and gets visibly angry when he takes shots, and fighting a talented boxer like Fulton is going to have him boiling over with rage.
This is going to lead to Inoue fighting in a wild, reckless manner, making it easy for the cooler Fulton to pick him apart on July 25th.
In Inoue’s first fight against 40-year-old Nontito Donaire and his match against David Carmona, he looked like he flashed anger each time those fighters would nail him. It was as if this wasn’t supposed to happen, and it had Inoue looking angry as a bull.
Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs) will be attempting to capture his fourth division world title against WBC/WBO 122-lb champion Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) in this fight, which will be shown live on ESPN+.
‘Monster’ Inoue may have finally hit his ceiling trying to capture a fourth-division world title because his power might not be enough to defeat the master boxer Fulton in a new weight class.
Why Fulton wins:
- Ring IQ
- Punch output
- Calm temperament
Fans have long predicted that Inoue will eventually reach his limit of what he can accomplish with him moving up constantly, as he has a low punch output, and his game is entirely centered around him scoring one-punch knockouts.
Inoue = low output Canelo type of fighter, and he’s not capable of high output. Also, he doesn’t react well to getting hit, as he suffers facial injuries in the form of broken when on the receiving end of shots.
This fight is arguably the biggest in boxing, but it hasn’t been given a solid promotional push for some reason. The hardcore fans are aware of the Inoue vs. Fulton contest, but the casuals are unaware because he’s not been marketed to the general public.
Fulton won’t let Inoue beat him
“July 25th is the biggest fight in 2023 in boxing with ‘Monster’ against ‘Cool Boy’ Steph [Fulton],” said Joe Tessitore to Top Rank Boxing.
“I got to do whatever I got to do to bring my titles back, defend and defeat him,” said Fulton about Inoue.
The key to Fulton winning is by staying calm and not standing in front of Inoue for too long because the Japanese fighter will be loading up with all of his shots, looking to score a single-punch knockout, as he always does.
Fulton must take advantage of Inoue being spoiled from his many years of having things his own way. When you get a fighter that is drunk on their own successes, they lose their cool when things aren’t going swimmingly.
One classic example of that is Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield when things weren’t going his way. Inoue obviously won’t bite Fulton, but he will load up even more when he gets angry, and start over-throwing, looking to score a knockout.
Fulton will have a never-ending number of opportunities to pick apart the wildly swinging Inoue.
“I want to show my fans the belt around my waist at the end,” said Inoue.
“The fact that Nonito was able to get some shots on him gives me some optimism that Fulton can make this a dogfight,” said Ken Rideout to Teddy Atlas’ Youtube channel.
“If I hadn’t seen that fight [Naoya vs. Nontito Donaire], I’d say that Inoue runs over everyone and no one can touch him, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think Fulton has a real chance in this fight, which looks to be as competitive as Inoue has been in.
“It won’t be a dog fight because Fulton doesn’t have the firepower, mentality, or temperament to really engage in a dog fight. That’s not his MO [modus operandi]. That’s not his DNA,” said Atlas.
“Inoue throws damaging punches, and he doesn’t miss much. He doesn’t throw much, but everything he throws is designed to land. You have the counter-puncher [Fulton] in his prime, and you have the puncher [Inoue] in his prime, and you see what happens,” said Atlas.
Stephen must avoid firefights
“If Fulton is going to have a chance, he’s going to have to counter-punch, use his legs a little bit to keep the stronger puncher Inoue off balance,” said Atlas. “When he is on the inside, he’s going to have to score and get out or tie up.
“Not live in those dangerous chambers too long. I know he’s going to want to be in there a little bit to get his respect and slow down the motor of Inoue a little bit because if you’re moving all the time on the outside and the guy is coming after you, it’s hard to keep up that pace,” said Atlas.
Fulton isn’t crazy enough to go to war with Inoue because that would be playing into his hands by fighting his fight, and he’s not going to do that. Does Fulton have enough power to hurt Inoue? Chris Williams thinks so. The light-hitting David Carmona stunned Inoue a couple of times in their fight in 2016, and if he was able to hurt him, Fulton can too.
“Donaire, yes. A former champion, an older guy, good puncher that makes sense, and it was possible because of his physical attributes, style, and abilities to get into a firefight, a dog fight, said Atlas.
“When I said, ‘Dog fight,’ I meant to say it is very competitive,” said Rideout.
“He’s [Fulton] not that cat. He’s a different animal,” said Atlas. “He’s a whole different specimen where Donaire had the firepower and could get into that kind of fight, that kind of veteran thaat was his last stand. I think that fight took everything out of him because he didn’t do good in his next fight, Donaire.
“He gave everything he had, and that was to get into a dog fight, to get into a firefight, and he came up short. But this, again, we’re talking about a whole different makeup [with Fulton].
“To have a chance to win this fight, he doesn’t have the artillery, those kinds of tools,” Atlas said of Fulton. “He has his own set of tools, and his tools are more sophisticated. His set of tools is to engage in a boxing match.”