aoya Inoue and Stephen Fulton clash in a mammoth rescheduled unified super-bantamweight world title fight in Japan on Tuesday.
Inoue is going straight into a huge bout in the 122lbs division, having vacated his four bantamweight belts and moved up following a dominant and gruelling late stoppage of England’s Paul Butler on home soil in December that saw him become the first undisputed men’s bantamweight champion of the four-belt era.
The man they rightly call ‘The Monster’ is already a three-division world champion and now has his sights set on swiftly dominating another weight class and further enhancing his reputation as a pound-for-pound superstar and one of boxing’s most-feared and hardest-hitting knockout kings in front of an adoring home crowd.
But, having now recovered from a training injury that forced the original May 7 date to be pushed back, he faces a real tough test against Fulton, the undefeated American who beat Angelo Leo for the WBO super-bantamweight belt back in 2021, having previously held the IBO strap, and added the WBC version by outpointing Brandon Figueroa later in the same year.
The 21-0 Fulton had been expected to rematch Figueroa for the interim WBC featherweight title before the chance to take on Inoue in a blockbuster showdown emerged.
Now the 29-year-old Philadelphia native will travel to Asia for his very first fight outside the US, hoping to ace one of the most difficult assignments that the sport currently has to offer.
Fulton vs Inoue date, start time, venue and ring walks
Fulton vs Inoue takes place on Tuesday July 25, 2023 at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
It’s a daytime treat for UK fight fans, with the main-card action set to get underway at around 9:30am BST.
Main event ring walks are expected at approximately 1pm, though that is a rough guide subject to change and further clarification.
Fulton vs Inoue fight card/undercard in full
Tuesday’s co-main event will see Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez defend his WBO flyweight world title against Japan’s experienced 2012 Olympic medalist Satoshi Shimizu.
Stephen Fulton vs Naoya Inoue
Robeisy Ramirez vs Satoshi Shimizu
Chihiro Iwashita vs Hiroyuki Takahara
Kanamu Sakama vs Ryu Horikawa
Taiga Imanaga vs Hebi Marapu
Yoshiki Takei vs Ronnie Baldonado
Yuki Kajitani vs Masato Shinoda
Kenta Yamakawa vs Ryosuke Nakamura
Takero Kitano vs Kenta Kawakami
How to watch Fulton vs Inoue
TV channel: In the UK, Fulton vs Inoue is available to watch live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event, with coverage beginning at 9:30am BST.
Live stream: Those with a Sky Sports subscription can also catch the action as it happens online via the Sky Go app.
LIVE coverage: You can follow live coverage of the entire card with Standard Sport’s fight blog on the day.
Fulton vs Inoue fight prediction
One of the most highly-anticipated fights of 2023 kicks off a great period of summer boxing that also includes Terence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr, Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith, Anthony Joshua vs Dillian Whyte, Oleksandr Usyk vs Daniel Dubois, Canelo Alvarez vs Jermell Charlo and many more.
But this really does have the potential to be the best of the lot as the vicious Inoue – the first Asian boxer ever to become a four-belt world champion – faces the battle of his career against the planet’s best super-bantamweight.
The odds are certainly against Fulton in Inoue’s back yard, but he is a clever, slick, versatile and experienced fighter who has the skills necessary to frustrate and bypass his opponent’s awesome power.
After demolishing the great Nonito Donaire in a hopelessly one-sided rematch of their bloody 2019 classic, ‘The Monster’ battered Butler before Christmas, but for a change struggled to find a trademark venomous finish before finally breaking his stubborn resistance with a typically violent barrage in the penultimate round.
He won’t have things completely his own way here and we anticipate a few cagey but fascinating rounds where Fulton is able to steer clear of those trademark power punches that reverberate around the area and perhaps even take a lead on the cards.
However, you can only avoid the Inoue onslaught for so long, as a record of 21 knockouts from 24 outings can attest, so expect the home favourite to eventually wear down his rival’s defences and inflict his maiden professional defeat via a brutal late stoppage.
Inoue to win via late knockout.
Fulton vs Inoue weigh-in results
The weigh-in for Tuesday’s card is set to take place in Tokyo on Monday. Check back in then for the results.
Fulton vs Inoue betting odds
Fulton to win: 11/4
Inoue to win: 1/4
Fulton to win by KO, TKO or DQ: 9/1
Fulton to win by decision/technical decision: 4/1
Inoue to win by KO, TKO or DQ: 10/11
Inoue to win by decision/technical decision: 9/4
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).