Stephen Fulton believes in himself.
And why not?
Fulton, the holder of two titles, is undefeated in 21 fights.
The guy can box. Very well. He picked up the WBO super bantamweight title in 2021, handing Angelo Lee his first defeat.
Fulton can also rumble. He outfought Brandon Figueroa over 12 heats to capture the WBC belt, and in his most recent bout, Fulton dominated former IBF champ, Daniel Roman.
“Cool Boy Steph” is slick and gritty. His biggest challenge arrives on July 25th when he fights a monster.
He was asked last week how prudent it was to fight Naoya Inoue in his backyard. He didn’t hesitate.
“Because I’m smart,” Fulton said.
“I believe in my mindset. I believe in my abilities. There’s nothing I can’t out-think. “I didn’t take this fight to go out there for money. That’s what other guys wanna do. My mindset is strictly going over there because I know I can win, and I want to challenge myself while doing it. I want to put myself to the test.”
But will all that defeat the power-punching Inoue?
The oddsmakers don’t think so. They’ve installed Inoue, a 3-1 favorite.
Feels more like, 2-1 or 7-5, but Fulton can win this fight.
Inoue is excited to fight next week. Moving up from bantamweight to super bantamweight doesn’t concern him.
“I have absolutely nothing to be anxious about,” Inoue said. “As the challenger for the first time in a while, I’m as fired up as I’ve ever been.”
“The Monster” Inoue has fought 24 times, scoring 21 knockouts. He’s looked destructive at times, like last year when he destroyed future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire in less than five minutes.
Inoue picked up his first world title at 21, stopping Adrian Hernandez in six rounds. The belt was in the light flyweight division. Eight months later, he moved up and obliterated Warlito Parrenas.
In 2018, Inoue was fighting for the WBA bantamweight division. He knocked out Jamie McDonnell in the first round. Monstrous. Inoue stopped Emmanuel Rodriguez in Glasgow to make the IBF title his.
Inoue and Donaire fought for the first time three and a half years ago. Donaire was 36 and past his prime, but on this night, he gave Inoue his toughest fight. Inoue picked up the WBA super world bantamweight belt. He made four successful defenses of his belts – then faced Paul Butler for all the marbles. The bout was over in round 11.
Seven months ago, Inoue announced his next move.
“There is nothing left to do, and no one I want to fight in the bantamweight division,” Inoue said.
Super bantamweight was next, and Stephen Fulton was the opponent.
Fulton is likely the quickest fighter Inoue has ever boxed. He also has an edge in height and reach.
Donaire, for one, believes Fulton can defeat Inoue.
“With Inoue going up in weight and Fulton being the champion, you know, I have to give a slight edge to Fulton because Inoue has never fought anybody like Fulton,” Donaire told BoxingScene.com.
My gut says Inoue.
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