Boxing fans worldwide united on Tuesday morning to watch a fantastic matchup between Naoya Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) and Stephen Fulton Jr. (21-1, 8 KOs). The fight was for two titles at super bantamweight in front of a live crowd of over 16,000 fans in Toyko, Japan. Inoue solidified his greatness by dominating Fulton Jr. and stopping him in the eighth round and becoming a four-division champion.
The anticipation was high as ESPN+ streamed the broadcast live, and social media was on fire discussing the fight as we got closer to the main event. During the ringwalks, Fulton Jr. looked nervous, which played out almost immediately in the first round. He was stiff, had minimal head movement, and seemed like the moment was too big for him.
On the other hand, Inoue looked relaxed and started pumping that left jab from the start. Inoue showed plenty of respect early, but at the beginning of the third round, he began to press on the gas. Fulton Jr. was blocking many shots, but Inoue’s left up jab was getting through, and the body punches were starting to add up.
As the rounds progressed, Inoue’s shots started to get through more and more, and in the eighth round, he led with a left jab, which brought Fulton Jr.’s arms down and then came over the top with a huge right hand, sending Fulton Jr. crashing down to the canvas. Miraculously, he got up, surprising Inoue, who thought the fight was over.
Once the action resumed, Inoue landed another right hand and then a short left hook, which sent Fulton Jr. down again forcing the referee to stop the fight. During the post-fight interview, the other unified super bantamweight champion, Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19 KOs), stepped into the ring, and Inoue challenged him to a fight for the undisputed crown in November.