Naoya Inoue knocks out Stephen Fulton to clinch fourth division title

Naoya Inoue is the new king of the super bantamweight division (KYODO photo via

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The question continues up to this day. Who can stop the Japanese Monster?

In a jam-packed Ariake Arena in Tokyo Japan, Naoya “Monster” Inoue delivered another classic knockout victory to dethrone two-belt super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton of America last July 25, 2023.

With the win, Inoue became a four-division world champion and continued his undefeated professional boxing streak to 25 straight victories including 22 devastating knockouts.

Just like what they said during Inoue’s pre-fight training camps: “If you see the monster, don’t look straight. Just run for your life.”

That’s what Inoue did during his highly-anticipated super bantamweight debut after leaving all four of his belts in bantamweight when he decided to move up weight to contend for another division title.

The question if Inoue can still bring his power to a heavier division was quickly solved after the first round. Despite Fulton’s quickness and head fakes, the Japanese superstar stuck to his game plan and landed power shot after power shot to prevent the American’s ring control.

Fulton did a good job of controlling the center of the ring and applied  much-needed pressure to neutralize Inoue’s punch power.

Just when Fulton thought he could sustain his strategy, the Japanese camp shifted gears immediately and ordered their ward to step on the gas pedal.

That move paid off dividends for Inoue as his aggressiveness helped him gain his punching rhythm which led to a higher usage rate of his signature 1-2 jab combinations including his thundering right hooks.

Fulton countered back in the fourth and fifth rounds after banking on his right jabs that set up several right uppercuts to help him earn some points in the scorecards.

The match then heated up in the sixth as both fighters started to square up and exchange heavy combinations in the middle of the ring.

However, Fulton always got tagged and decided to play safe the next round. From a hounding jab pressure, the American chose to run away from several possible skirmishes and waited for the eighth round.

Little did Fulton know that it would be his last time to be called a two-belt champion.

With 2:17 remaining in the round, Inoue perfectly sized up Fulton and threw a vicious right hook set up by a quick left jab.

That thundering right hand then sent Fulton down to the canvass but he managed to beat the eight-count rule of the match referee.

After standing up, Inoue then closed the show in style after sending in a barrage of power punches that forced the referee to stop the fight after shielding Fulton from the crazy sequence.

This is Fulton’s first-ever defeat as a boxing professional and dropped to 21 wins, a loss, and eight knockouts.

Who will taint Inoue’s perfect record? Is there anyone left in the division that can pose a serious threat to the Japanese Monster?