- What: Stephen Fulton vs Naoya Inoue - Junior Featherweight title fight
- When: Saturday, July 25th
- Where: Ariake Arena, Tokyo
Stephen Fulton and Naoya Inoue will finally step in the ring on July 25th as Fulton puts his unified junior featherweight title on the line. This bout was actually supposed to take place on May 7th but Inoue suffered an injury in March that resulted in the fight being rescheduled. Fulton currently holds the WBC and WBO titles. This matchup has been highly anticipated for months because not only are these two the best in their class, they're two of the most elite boxers in the sport. The clah is set to be held at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, the same venue that hosted the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games. It sits 15,000 people and you can certainly expect a packed house. Below, we'll dive into the Stephen Fulton vs Naoya Inoue picks.
Fulton vs Inoue Odds
Inoue comes in as the clear favorite with -375 odds for an implied win probability of 78.95%. Fulton sits at +275 and has just a 26.67% chance of winning this bout. Both guys are unbeaten in their respective careers to this point.
Fulton is one of the best around. He's 21-0 with eight knockouts in his career and absolutely wreaks havoc on his opponents. Fulton is a true workhorse in the ring who can sometimes throw around 1,000 punches in a single fight. While the Philadelphia native hasn't fought in over a year, his last win was dominant, taking out Daniel Roman via unanimous decision to retain the WBC and WBO titles.
However, the upcoming meeting for Fulton will be a first. He's never fought outside of the United States and will have to travel all the way to Japan for this one. That shouldn't play too much of a factor, although the sportsbooks certainly aren't giving him much of a chance. The 28-year-old isn't one to put his opponents on the canvas too often but you can expect him to try and tire out Inoue with his relentless punches. Fulton does stand two inches taller than Inoue, but the Japanese does have a one-inch reach advantage.
Inoue is 30 years of age and does have a bit more experience under his belt. He's 24-0 in his career with a whopping 21 knockouts. In other words, 88% of his fights have ended with the opposition seeing stars. He is currently the top-ranked fighter by the WBO and WBC in the 122-lb division. Inoue has also won at three different divisions and has eight titles in total in his impressive career.
While Fulton last fought in June of 2022, Inoue was last in action on December 13th in this exact same Arena, stopping Paul Butler in the 11th round. In fact, he's knocked out five fighters in a row, with three of those bouts coming on home soil. Inoue is a force to be reckoned with and has conquered numerous divisions. He'll undoubtedly be feeling confident considering the July 25th bout is in Tokyo, but Inou also won't be taking Fulton for granted, either.
Sure, he's never lost, but the odds shouldn't tell the whole story. Fulton is a stud as well and has all the ability to shock Inoue here. And to be brutally honest, this is Inoue's most difficult opponent yet. I really don't expect Inoue to find another knockout.
Stephen Fulton vs Naoya Inoue Picks
It's not too often fights go the distance for Inoue, who continues to dominate every time he steps foot in the ring. That being said, I truly do expect this to be a marathon with neither guy going down easy. That's why I'm eyeing the over 10.5 rounds at -125 odds. As for the winner, I'm going to go against the grain and take Fulton. He is a warrior and has been fighting at 122 lbs for a while. This is Inoue's debut in this division. That might not mean a whole lot, but I do think the American will silence the doubters and grab a huge victory while retaining his belts in the process.
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