clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Stephen Fulton Jr vs Naoya Inoue official for May 7 in Japan, ESPN+ coverage

Stephen Fulton Jr will go to Japan to face Naoya Inoue on May 7.

Stephen Fulton Jr will go to Japan to face Naoya Inoue on May 7
Stephen Fulton Jr will go to Japan to face Naoya Inoue on May 7
Steve Marcus/Getty Images and Yuichi Yamazaki/AFP via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

It’s official: Stephen Fulton Jr will head to Japan to defend his pair of 122 lb titles against Naoya Inoue on Sunday, May 7, with ESPN+ streaming the fight in the United States.

Inoue (24-0, 21 KO) will be making his 122 lb debut after going undisputed at bantamweight with his December knockout win over Paul Butler in Tokyo. The 29-year-old “Monster” is seen by many as the top pound-for-pound fighter in boxing today — including our site’s rankings — and has won world titles at 108, 115, and 118 lbs.

Fulton (21-0, 8 KO) may turn out to be the toughest challenge of his career, with due respect to future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire and other quality opponents Inoue has faced. Fulton is a true top 122 lb fighter, holds the WBC and WBO titles, and like Inoue, has one of the best jabs in the sport — you may even believe they are the two best jabbers in boxing, and it’s not a bad argument.

This fight came together after Fulton, 28, chose to push for a fight with Inoue rather than moving up to featherweight for a rematch with Brandon Figueroa, who just beat Mark Magsayo this past Saturday.

It’s a bold and hugely admirable move by Fulton, who put aside any potential promotional issues between PBC and Top Rank to go after a big fight on the road against one of the sport’s top names. And it’s big for Inoue, obviously, and also a real challenge. No matter how great they are, when fighters keep going up and up in weight, they always meet a wall.

Will 122 and Fulton be Inoue’s wall? I can’t wait to find out.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bad Left Hook Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your global boxing news from Bad Left Hook