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Naoya Inoue Obliterates Fulton To Become Super Bantamweight Unified Champion

Naoya Inoue Obliterates Fulton To Become Super Bantamweight Unified Champion featured image
TOPSHOT - Naoya Inoue (L) of Japan and Stephen Fulton of the US fight in the WBC, WBO super bantamweight world title match at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on July 25, 2023. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Former bantamweight undisputed champion Naoya Inoue successfully completed the first part of his campaign at junior featherweight/super bantamweight after defeating former unified champion Stephen Fulton en route to a stoppage victory that came in the 8th round at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo on July 25th.

Naoya Inoue’s (25-0, 22 KO’s) first attempt at super bantamweight was met with resounding success after he stopped Stephen Fulton (21-1, 8 KO’s) in the 8th round. The Japanese superstar sealed his position as a pound-for-pound contender with his victory, and might become the frontrunner after defeating his first undefeated champion in Fulton.

The match witnessed Inoue in fine form once more, winning most if not all the rounds with exceptional boxing, devastating power and lightning-quick speed. Fulton had virtually no answers for Inoue whose combinations and endless pressure kept the American on the back foot for nearly the entirety of the fight.

Though known for his slick movement of feet and body, Fulton was seemingly incapable of dealing with Inoue’s aggressive approach which saw the Japanese fighters throw and land more punches than Fulton could deal with. In the 8th round, the 1st sign of a victory came when Inoue knocked Fulton down in the 8th round with a one-two combination.

Stephen Fulton did beat the count to get up but Naoya Inoue instantly pounced on him, trapping him in a corner where he was unable to deal with the rapid and powerful punches from the Japanese fighter. The referee was forced to step in shortly after, resulting in the match being stopped and Inoue being ruled the winner by technical knockout.

Naoya Inoue’s victory was a stunning statement to the boxing world to confirm him as undoubtedly one of the best fighters in the world. Stephen Fulton, who had previously been undefeated, loses his WBC and WBO super bantamweight titles in the process alongside his 0.

The fight card further featured recently-crowned WBO featherweight world champion Robeisy Ramirez (13-1, 8 KO’s) retaining his title after a 5th round TKO win over Japanese contender Satoshi Shimuzu (11-2, 10 KO’s).

With Naoya Inoue having almost easily dispatched the likeliest best fighter in the division, the path now lies wide open for the Japanese unified super bantamweight champion to become undisputed with the only other champion in the division, unified WBA & IBF world champion Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19 KO’s), being the only fighter in Inoue’s way to prevent him from taking over another division.