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Naoya Inoue and Stephen Fulton Jr reportedly discussing spring title fight in Japan

Brandon Figueroa, who was slated to face Stephen Fulton for an interim featherweight belt, will reportedly meet Mark Magsayo instead.

Stephen Fulton Jr and Naoya Inoue are working on a possible spring fight in Japan
Stephen Fulton Jr and Naoya Inoue are working on a possible spring fight in Japan
Steve Marcus/Getty Images and Yuichi Yamazaki/AFP via Getty Images

UPDATE (Jan. 19, 9:01 am ET): Inoue and Fulton have now reportedly agreed to terms (ESPN.com) for the spring fight in Japan, where Fulton will defend his WBC and WBO 122 lb titles against Inoue. If the deal fully goes through, Fulton vs Inoue would be streamed live on ESPN+ in the United States. — Scott


Alright, so here’s the story so far.

Last week, news broke that an interim featherweight title fight between former super bantamweight rivals Stephen Fulton and Brandon Figueroa would headline a February 25th Showtime tripleheader at The Armory in Minneapolis alongside Subriel Matias vs Jeremias Ponce and Elvis Rodriguez vs Joseph Adorno.

Three days ago, ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez revealed that a clash between Figueroa and former titlist Mark Magsayo was “on the table” for March 4th.

Now, Mike Coppinger reports that Fulton is “engaged in talks” with former undisputed bantamweight king Naoya Inoue to meet this spring in Japan.

Whether Fulton (21-0, 8 KO) was using the possibility of the Figueroa rematch for leverage or if it the matchup came apart on its own, I doubt many will be shedding tears. “Cool Boy” vs Inoue (24-0, 21 KO) isn’t just the fight to make at 122, it’s one of the most tantalizing bouts in the entire sport.

These are genuinely two of the best boxers on the planet, elite technicians who are ready, willing, and able to knuckle down and trade heat when the situation calls for it. It’s the kind of matchup that keeps our interest in the sport afloat no matter how many controversies and mismatches and outright stinkers try to drag us down.

Hell, Fulton going to Inoue’s home turf is laudable in and of itself.

We’ll keep a sharp eye on if and how the matchup comes together. You’ll know as soon as we do.

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