Inoue Smashes Fulton

Aurelio Martinez

DENVER (July 25, 2023) – After 3 rounds of action, it was obvious the game plan Stephen Fulton had was to fight defensively and not get hit by the hard-punching Naoya Inoue. While this may be a good strategy against a knock-out artist, it’s also a good way to dig yourself into a hole. Giving away rounds due to a lack of punching is not what champions do. I gave the 4th round to Fulton because he did manage to land a good strong combination but in the eyes of the judges, I’m sure it was not enough to win the round.

Rounds 5 and 6 went by and everyone in the U.S. was waiting for Fulton to make his break. The ‘break’ never came, instead, Inoue became stronger, losing any respect he may have had for Fulton. You see in boxing, you have to demand respect in the ring by hurting your opponent and making them feel your power and desire. In round 7, Inoue physically said ‘This man is going down!’ and the monster pressure was on. When this happens you either mix it up or try and survive. Fulton did not mix it up and he did not survive, Inoue knocks out Fulton in the eighth round.

This however was a good fight, even though I can’t see any of the judges awarding Fulton a single round. Fulton fought defensively sound, catching most of Inoue’s punches and eluding power shots by leaning back out of harm’s way. This made the fight a good and entertaining contest. If (the biggest word in the dictionary) Fulton would have made Inoue pay after a missed or blocked punch, he may have tamed the monster. Unfortunately, Fulton had too much respect for Inoue’s power.

I give Inoue an A+ in this fight, he moved up in weight and fought an undefeated champion. In my last piece, I mentioned that Inoue never fought an opponent with a losing record in his professional career and this tells us what kind of boxer Inoue is.

For those in the U.S. that did not get up early to watch the fight, be sure and catch a replay, it’s well worth the look and see.

Look for Inoue to seek an undisputed and unified contest against the current IBF and WBA super bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales for his next fight.

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