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‘Monster’ Inoue TKOs Fulton in 8th, wrests WBC/WBO super bantamweight titles

Jul 26, 2023 8:21 am

  Top-ranked challenger Naoya ‘’the Monster’’ Inoue of Ohashi Boxing Gym, demonstrating a barrage of left and right combinations, stopped champion Stephen Fulton of the United States in the eighth round to wrest the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization super bantamweight titles on July 25 at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena.

  The technical knockout of the scheduled 12-rounder came 1 minute and 14 seconds into the round when Inoue scored a knockdown with a combination of a left jab to the body, a straight right to the head and a left hook to the head.

Though the previously undefeated Fulton struggled to his feet, Inoue wasted no time in putting him against a corner while landing a barrage of left and right blows to the head, prompting the referee to step in to halt the bout.

  All three judges had the 30-year-old Inoue ahead on points by three to five points after the first seven rounds.

  With the win, Inoue extended his consecutive victories in world title fights to a record 20. Inoue, a former undisputed world bantamweight champion, became Japan’s second boxer to win world titles in four different weight divisions following reigning World Boxing Association super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka of Shisei Boxing Gym.

  After the fight, Inoue said, ‘’I am glad that I was able to turn in a good performance in terms of speed and power. But I realized I still have lots of things that I have to reform as I could not display what I learned during my training.’’

  In this connection, WBA and International Boxing Federation super bantamweight kingpin Marlon Tapales of the Philippines, who was watching the Fulton-Inoue fight in person, climbed through the ropes and told Inoue, ‘’I want to prove I am the champion.’’ To this, Inoue replied immediately, ‘’Lets have a fight within this year with both our titles at stake.’’

The 29-year-old Fulton tipped the scales at the class limit of 55.3 kg (122 lbs.), whereas Inoue weighed in at 55.2 kg.

  The title fight with Fulton was postponed from the initially scheduled May 7 due to Inoue’s fist injuries during training in early March.

With the victory, Inoue extended his unbeaten streak to 25, including 22 KOs. For his part, Fulton, who failed in his second defense of the WBC title and his third of the WBO crown, fell to a 21-1 win-loss record with eight KOs.

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