Stephen Fulton moving up to 126 to capture title, then rematch Naoya Inoue

By Craig Daly:  Former unified super bantamweight champion Stephen ‘Cool Boy Steph’ Fulton says he’s moving up to featherweight to capture a world title and face Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue in a rematch to avenge his humiliating loss to the Japanese superstar.

Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) recently dethroned WBC & WBO 122-lb champion Fulton (21-1, 8 KOs), knocking him out in the eighth round last month on July 25th in Tokyo, Japan.

It’s unclear if Fulton is looking to ramp up for a second payday against Inoue or if he’s really hoping to avenge his loss. Given how one-sided that fight was, it’s likely that Fulton’s rationale for wanting a rematch with Inoue is for the big payday that would come from that. Fulton has got to know that the situation would be hopeless.

For Fulton to be taken seriously by fans for a rematch with Inoue, he would need to face one of the best 126-lb champions and not cherry-pick the weakest of the belt holders in that division.

Would Fulton be willing to challenge WBO featherweight champion Robeisy Ramirez or IBF champ Luis Alberto Lopez? It’s very unlikely because those guys are a nightmare for Fulton and likely embarrass him worse than Inoue did.

You got to have power, speed, or an excellent chin to be one of the best at super bantamweight, and unfortunately, Fulton has none of those qualities going for him. He’s just a basic pure boxer.

Fulton’s goal of capturing a world title at 126 won’t be easy to achieve because the current champions are a split bunch, with many of them huge punchers that could potentially knock him out as Inoue did.

It’s very likely that the 30-year-old Fulton will be strategic in picking the champion at featherweight that he hopes to defeat because if he chooses the wrong guy, it’ll blow up in his face. Fulton is a finesse-type of fighter, lacking hand speed & power to

Featherweight champions:

  • Robeisy Ramirez – WBO
  • Leigh Wood – WBA
  • Rey Vargas – WBC
  • Luis  Lopez – IBF

Fulton will surely go after the WBA title held by the aging British fighter Leigh Wood, as he’s clearly the weakest link among the four belt-holders at featherweight.

Wood’s promoter Eddie Hearn likely won’t be interested in matching him against Futlon if he successfully defends his WBA title against Josh Warrington on October 7th. The winner of that fight will need to face WBA mandatory Otabek Kholmatov or Raymond Ford.

Fighting Robeisy, Lopez, or Vargas would be sure losses for Fulton. Fulton should forget about Naoya Inoue, drop down to bantamweight, and go after his brother, WBA champion Takuma Inoue. That guy is an easy mark.