Naoya Inoue steps up in weight to challenge for Stephen Fulton’s unified super-bantamweight titles – and trainer and analyst, Teddy Atlas, has made his pick.
It speaks to the sheer power and skill of Inoue that he’s moving up to face an undefeated, bigger man and will still step through the ropes as favourite.
Both fighters have shown greatness in the ring, Fulton’s peak focused on pure boxing, movement and defence whilst Inoue has a knockout highlight reel unlike any other ‘smaller’ boxer.
He will be fighting to become a four-division world champion, whilst the American aims to be the first man to beat the Japanese phenomenon before perhaps moving up in weight himself.
“It’s hard to bet against Inoue. It really is … If I had to [pick], I’m not betting against him. I think one of the things that Fulton has going for him is that he’s a good defensive fighter, he knows how to go rounds, he’s undefeated, he’s confident. And he’s the naturally bigger guy – so he’s got a couple things going for him.
But I think the constant pressure of Inoue, and the body work, will be the difference at the end of the day. Not too many guys go the distance with Inoue. If somebody does, it’s gonna be a defensive whizz like this. Again, if I had to bet, I’d go with Inoue.”
Looking at the betting odds, Atlas then said he would put a small play on the fight not going the distance, but that would be a back-up to Inoue winning outright.