Naoya Inoue has announced his first fight at super-bantamweight, taking on the poster boy of the division in the form of two-belt champion, Stephen Fulton.
After a relatively quick negotiation, the pair seem to be attempting to set the precedent for a new era of the sport where the best fight the best and boxing politics are neglected.
Inoue is the current number one pound-for-pound fighter for many boxing fans after becoming the undisputed bantamweight champion in December and, in doing so, the first ever Japanese boxer to hold four-belts simultaneously.
Furthermore, victory over Paul Butler crowned Inoue as the first undisputed 118lb king of the four-belt era and cemented his name in the history books.
After adding bantamweight honours to his legacy, ‘The Monster’ is now a three-weight champion, having previously held world titles at both light-flyweight and super-flyweight.
Now, the 29-year-old has set his sights on super-bantamweight glory, having signed to fight the undefeated WBC and WBO champion, Stephen Fulton.
Despite, being the title holder, it is Fulton who will be in the away corner, with Bad Left Hook reporting that the deal has been agreed for Sunday May 7 in Yokohoma, Japan.
Fulton had been linked to a move up in weight himself, possibly rematching Brandon Figueroa at featherweight after a majority decision victory in their last fight.
Instead, ‘Cool Boy Steph’ has decided to defend his titles against one of the sport’s biggest names – and for that he must be respected.
It is likely that the winner of the mouth-watering clash will fight Murodjon Akhmadliev for the undisputed 122lb title, provided the WBA and IBF champion defeats Marlon Tapales on April 8.
Fulton-Inoue is the super-bantamweight chess match that fans were praying for and it has been delivered. The undefeated duo will face one another in two months’ time, with a UK broadcaster is yet to be announced.