Naoya Inoue’s move up to challenge for two super bantamweight titles against current champion, Stephen Fulton, has been put on ice after the Japanese fighter suffered an injury in camp.
The May 7 showdown set for the Yokohama Arena was to pit two of the most highly-regarded fighters on the planet up against one another, with Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs) vacating his four bantamweight titles ahead of the contest and step up in weight.
Philadelphia’s Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) is the latest addition to many fans’ pound-for-pound lists, and a fight against the man plenty regard as number one has the potential to cement his status as a star. It was to be his first fight outside of the US.
The postponement news was reported by ESPN‘s Mike Coppinger, who highlighted the training injury to the Japanese fighter before informing fans that the promotion will look to reschedule the bout for summer.
Naoya Inoue suffered an injury in training and his May 7 fight in Japan vs. Stephen Fulton for the unified 122-pound championship has been postponed, sources tell ESPN. No new date at this moment. Story coming.
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) March 21, 2023
Known as ‘The Monster’, Inoue became undisputed in the 118lb ranks against England’s Paul Butler via eleventh round stoppage in December of last year. It’s the third division he has made his championship mark on, but the fourth is now forced to wait.
Fulton picked up the WBO Super Bantamweight belt against Angelo Leo back in January 2021, and added the WBC strap to his collection with a majority decision victory over Brandon Figueroa ten months later.
The bout sees Top Rank and PBC working together, and the fight was previously set to be broadcast on ESPN+ in the States and Sky Sports in the UK – it’s assumed this set up will remain should it go ahead at a later date.
Correctly identified as boxing showing its best side, fans will be eager to hear reassurance of the fight still going ahead and an updated timeline for that to happen.