Home Boxing News Terence Crawford tabs Stephen Fulton to upset Naoya Inoue

Terence Crawford tabs Stephen Fulton to upset Naoya Inoue

Stephen Fulton. Photo credit: Getty Images

WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 39-0 (30) is tipping his countryman Stephen ‘Cool Boy’ Fulton 21-0 (8) to retain his WBC and WBO super bantamweight titles when he defends against three-weight world champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue 24-0 (21)at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday night.

Japan’s Inoue, 30, has been a wrecking machine since turning pro 11 years ago. A world champion just his sixth bout, he has cut a swathe through the junior flyweight, super flyweight and bantamweight divisions with a knockout ratio pushing 90%.

He will be having his first bout in the 122-pound division when he challenges Philadelphia’s Fulton, one year his junior.

For Fulton, it won’t be his first time fighting on the road. A quick glance at his resume shows he has criss-crossed the United States throughout his career. But it will be his first time boxing as a professional outside of his homeland.

As always, there are a lot of variables going in to this fight. Will Inoue’s power carry up another weight class? If it does, will Fulton be able to withstand it? What can Fulton do to discourage Inoue’s offensive onslaught?

Crawford, who will box a unification bout with WBC, WBO and IBF 147-pund champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr 28-0 (22) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 29, believes that Fulton has the skills to pay the bills.

“I’m leaning towards Fulton,” Crawford ahead of an open workout on Wednesday afterron to promote his upcoming bout. “I hope he brings it back to the United States. I hope he go out there and do good, and I wish him well.”

Crawford is predicting a close fight and wouldn’t say if he thought the bout would last the distance or end in a knockout.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I think it’s gonna be a tough fight for both fellas and the better man is gonna win that day.

“I just think Fulton is the bigger, stronger guy – not only bigger and stronger, but he has skills, too. You know, it’s one thing [when] a lotta people say, ‘Oh, well, this guy is big. This guy is strong.’ But skills pay the bills and Floyd [Mayweather has] proven that. And Fulton got the skills to back up his size as well.”

Japanese superstar Inoue is prepared to go the full 12-round distance against Fulton and know he will have to be at his best to catch up with him.

“My impression is that he uses his feet the full 12 rounds,” he said to Top Rank Boxing. “He strictly uses his boxing style and comes to win. He also has the physical side too. He has stamina to go all 12 rounds. He is definitely a powerful opponent.

“I don’t think I’ve ever fought an opponent like Fulton but at the same time, Fulton can say the same for me.”