Naoya Inoue Becomes Four-Division Champion With Spectacular Win Over Stephen Fulton

Photo: Instagram/Naoya Inoue

In a spectacular display of skill and power, Naoya Inoue once again proved why he is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

This remarkable feat occurred during a week that saw four of the finest fighters from two different continents competing for championships. Inoue's impressive performance led to the dethroning of the previously undefeated WBC/WBO junior featherweight champion, Stephen Fulton, in the eighth round through a well-timed stoppage at 1:14, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo.

This victory marked a historic moment for Inoue, who had already made boxing history at the same venue just seven months prior by unifying the bantamweight divisions against Paul Butler in the eleventh round. Now, with four titles under his belt, Inoue had achieved the extraordinary feat of becoming a champion in four different weight divisions.

Photo: Instagram/Naoya Inoue

The road to this remarkable achievement wasn't without challenges. The fight had been delayed for two months due to Inoue suffering a knuckle injury during training camp. However, his determination to claim the title in a fourth weight class was unwavering.

Although the naturally smaller competitor, Inoue wasted no time asserting himself in the bout. He outboxed Fulton throughout the twelve-round contest, showcasing a strong jab and powerful combinations. Despite Fulton's attempts to fight back, Inoue's aggression and precision in close quarters consistently outmatched his opponent.

In the eighth round, Inoue landed a devastating right hand that left Fulton staggering, followed by a left hook that sent him to the canvas. Despite Fulton's brave effort to beat the count, he was already a broken fighter by that point, prompting the referee to stop the contest.

The Compubox statistics reflected Inoue's dominance, as he landed 114 out of 379 total punches (30.1%), compared to Fulton's 47 out of 223 (21.1%). Inoue's power punches were even more telling, with 70 out of 180 (38.9%) finding their target, while Fulton managed only 24 out of 71 (33.8%).

For Fulton, this defeat marked the end of his 30-month title reign, which began with his WBO junior featherweight title win against Angelo Leo in January 2021. Despite his desire to face only the best and his willingness to travel abroad for the fight, he couldn't maintain his unbeaten record or retain his titles against the formidable Inoue.

In contrast, Inoue's legacy continued to grow, solidifying his place as a future Hall of Famer. Not only has he secured titles in four weight divisions, but he has also defeated the top-ranked fighters in each of those weight classes, an impressive feat that highlights his exceptional skills and versatility as a boxer.

Looking ahead, Inoue's ambitions show no sign of slowing down. He expressed interest in fighting Marlon Tapales, the current WBA and IBF titlist, who was present in the ring after Inoue's victory.

Tapales, in turn, displayed respect for Inoue and expressed his desire to face the newly-crowned champion. With both fighters eager for the showdown, a potential clash between these two boxing greats promises to be an eagerly anticipated event in the near future.

As the boxing world continues to witness extraordinary matchups, Inoue's journey to greatness remains one of the most captivating and inspiring stories, setting the stage for potential further accomplishments that could match even the most remarkable feats in the sport's history.

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Source: Boxing Scene 


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