The first of two big fights in boxing takes place at the Ariake Arena in Japan. “Cool Boy” Stephen Fulton Jr. (21-0, 8KO’s) takes on “The Monster” Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21KO’s) for the unified super-bantamweight championship.

Inoue began his career at 108 pounds, and is seeking to win a title in a 4th weight class. Fulton is looking to defend his WBC & WBO titles, and would secure what would be the biggest one thus far in his career.

One question jumps to the forefront of my mind when assessing this fight. Will the size difference catch up to Inoue? Oscar De La Hoya struggled with Felix Sturm and Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosely got handled by Winky Wright and Vernon Forrest, and recently you saw Canelo routed by Bivol. My point being as fighters move up in weight, at a certain level the fighters get bigger, which makes overcoming them difficult.

Fulton will look to use his size in the fight. He has speed, and athleticism, and fights well off of his jab. He also has a penchant for knocking off undefeated fighters. Ten of his twenty-one wins have come against, undefeated opposition. The pressure of potentially losing his undefeated record does not seem to bother him. He also opted to go on the road for this fight which leads me to believe he is confident in his ability to pull off the upset.

To win this fight Inoue will need to do what brought him to the dance. His fundamentals are at an elite level. He has speed, timing, he punches to the body well, and the power speaks for itself. His 88% KO ratio speaks for itself.

As stated earlier, Fulton has the speed and size to win this fight.  He is going to have to work off of his jab and keep the fight in the middle of the ring. He must avoid putting his back on the ropes. Against Brandon Figueroa, he made a fight he was in control of, more difficult because he kept going to the ropes. Figueroa was not able to capitalize; Inoue will not allow him such courtesies.  If he goes to the ropes he puts himself at risk of being beaten to the body. You do not provide an opportunity to a fighter of Inoue’s caliber too many chances to hit you.  I think throughout 12 rounds Inoue is going to break Fulton down and  take home a competitive but unanimous decision.

My pick: The Monster” Naoya Inoue UD-12

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