By David A. Avila
Stephen Fulton showed off his multi-dimensional talent in defeating former unified champion Daniel Roman with an array of lightning jabs, fleet elusiveness and overall toughness to retain the WBC and WBO world super bantamweight titles on Saturday.
“I told you all I was going to make it easy,” Fulton said.
Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) was the only champion willing to face Roman (29-4-1, 10 KOs) and eagerly accepted the challenge at the Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Philadelphia fighter showed 4,000 fans why he’s considered one of the more under-rated champions in the sport.
The last time Fulton stepped in the prize ring he was in a brutal toe-to-toe war with Texas slugger Brandon Figueroa. He won by majority decision and many expected an even closer fight with former champion Roman.
Fulton had other ideas.
Behind a speedy jab and using elusive movement, Fulton kept Roman from using his world championship experience and chasing ghosts instead. Whenever Roman attempted to corner Fulton the Philly fighter would slip out of danger.
Over and over again the same scenario was seen. Though Roman was seldom stunned he was receiving more blows than he was landing. The combination puncher who had lost the IBF and WBA titles by a disputed decision back in 2020, was unable to corner Fulton.
Fulton decided to go for the knockout around the 10th round. Both stood within striking distance and went to work. It was the first time in the fight that fans could cheer for something more than hit and run tactics.
“He knew how to use his distance,” said Roman.
From the 10th round on, Roman was able to unleash the combinations that had obtained him wins over two undefeated fighters in Japan. But against Fulton he was met with stiff resistance. Both traded blows and heavy shots and looked unfazed.
Though Roman finally was able to connect he was met with equal force from Fulton who seemed fresh and eager for more.
Both fighters tried their best for a knockout win but it was not going to happen. The final round ended and both hugged.
“I wanted to stop him but it wasn’t going to happen,” said Fulton. “Much respect to Danny Roman.”
All three judges favored Fulton 120-108 twice and 119-109. Though it appeared Roman won maybe three rounds that was a moot point. Fulton showed that he was able to do what the other unified champion could not do in beating Roman convincingly.
“This fight showed he is the best fighter at 122,” said Roman.
Fulton said a unification match with Murodjon Akhmadaliev the IBF and WBA titlist could be next.
WBA super middleweight titlist David Morrell (7-0, 6 KOs) stopped Kalvin Henderson (15-2-1) with a barrage of blows in the fourth round. The Cuban southpaw was able to pummel Henderson from the opening bell until the end at 2:35 of the fourth round.
Photo credit: Esther Lin / SHOWTIME