Naoya "Monster" Inoue (24-0, 20 KOs) will look once again to show why he is one of the most dominant names in boxing when he challenges Stephen "Cool Boy Steph" Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) in Japan on Tuesday, July 25 for Fulton's WBC and WBO Super Bantamweight World titles.
Inoue has not been a challenger to a belt in five years, but the three-division world champion is ready to become a four-division champ while adding more hardware to his collection when he moves up to 122 pounds.
Naoya Inoue and Stephen Fulton's Careers So Far
With an 88 percent knockout rate, the hard hitting Inoue is currently the second-ranked pound-for-pound boxer according to ESPN Boxing. In only his fifth professional fight, Inoue had his first world title fight back in April 2014 when he stopped Adrian Hernandez in the sixth round and became the WBC World Flyweight champion of the world at 108 pounds.
Inoue next moved up to 115 pounds and captured the WBO Super Flyweight world title. After seven successful title defenses, Inoue moved to 118 pounds, eventually crossing paths with Paul Butler and stopping him in the 11th round to capture the undisputed bantamweight championship of the world.
At 118 pounds, Inoue had all four bantamweight world championship belts. The Monster became the first Japanese fighter to do so in 50 years as well as in the four-belt era. With 19 world title fights in three weight divisions, Inoue vacated his bantamweight undisputed belts for the move to super bantamweight at 122 pounds.
In early 2021, Fulton grabbed the WBO bantamweight World title from Angelo Leo by unanimous decision. That set up a unification bout between Fulton (and WBC world champion) Brandon "Heartbreaker" Figueroa at the end of 2021. In a Fight of the Year contender, "Cool Boy" bested the former WBC World Champion by majority decision to unify both world titles. Fulton next successfully defended both titles when he fought Danny Roman in June of 2022.
At 21-0 (10 KOs) Fulton didn't have his first world title opportunity until his 19th professional fight and the Philly born Fulton is ready to solidify his place among the elite and a win against Inoue will do that. Both fighters have remained undefeated and neither has had an easy road to get to where they are. Styles make fights and both bring a beautiful and unique style that fans will love. There is a saying in boxing: "Getting to the top is one thing, but staying there is another thing." And on Tuesday, someone's undefeated streak will have to come to an end.
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