The undefeated, unified 122-pound champion puts on a masterclass against a top-tier opponent, winning by unanimous decision Saturday night on PBC on SHOWTIME.
Stephen Fulton Jr. wanted to prove a point on Saturday night.
Fulton, the undefeated WBC/WBO Unified World Super Bantamweight Champion, was facing former unified super bantamweight titlist Daniel Roman in front of a capacity crowd at The Armory, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing.
Many expected Roman to be the most difficult opponent of Fulton’s career. This was the perfect opportunity for Fulton to show that he was not only the best 122-pounder in the world, but among the very best, pound for pound today—and he did with a splendid, virtuoso performance by besting Roman in a dominant unanimous decision victory.
Straight rights, power jabs, combinations, left hooks, working angles and distance, fighting southpaw and orthodox, Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) did it all, translating into shutout scores of 120-108 from judges Mike Fitzgerald and Patrick Morley and 119-109 from judge Nathan Palmer.
“I made a hell of a statement tonight,” said Fulton. “I prepared for this and I told y’all I was going to make it easy and fight depending on how I wake up, and I woke up feeling good.
“It was very important to control the distance tonight. Like I said before in the last outing with Brandon Figueroa, I didn’t have the energy because I didn’t make the weight the right way. So, shout out to my dietician.”
Fulton dominated Roman like no one previously had.
“I’ve been in the top-10 pound-for-pound,” Fulton said. “I don’t care what their list says. I’ve been top 10. I’m the only fighter that became world champion in 2021 and then unified at the end of the year. I fought four undefeated fighters back-to-back-to-back. Two of them were world champions. Nobody did that. Nobody. And I was in the fighter of the year contest along with Canelo (Alvarez), and I’m at the smaller weight class.”
Fulton even received a resounding endorsement afterward from Roman (29-4-1, 10 KOs).
“There’s no excuse. I think this fight proves who the best 122-pound fighter in the division is,” Roman said in a classy statement. “Fulton did that tonight. He proved it. I wish him the best and I hope he goes and achieves what I couldn’t achieve. Go become undisputed. Like I said, this fight proved who is the best in the division. Fulton was the better man tonight.
“Fulton knew how to use his distance. It was hard for me to adjust to his distance because he was boxing. He came in and came out. He changed his style so it was hard for me to adjust.”
In the first, Fulton used an effective jab, while Roman tried to cut off the ring and fire body shots to slow down the faster Fulton. Roman enjoyed a better second although Fulton’s footwork allowed him to avoid most of the attacks.
Roman usually throws an average of 70 punches a round. He was down to 45 punches over the first two, because he could not catch Fulton.
Fulton used good distance, boxing mainly in the center of the ring in the third and fourth rounds behind a versatile jab.
Fulton came out more aggressive in the fifth. He mixed his steady jab with a left hook. The rare times they fought in the pocket, it was Fulton’s speed that got him the better of the exchanges.
Through five, Fulton’s superior boxing skills seemed in command. Roman, possibly sensing he was behind, pressed Fulton more in the sixth. Even then, he enjoyed little success. With 1:13 left in the sixth, his left uppercut and right hand swatted nothing but air. A Fulton counter right completely turned Roman around.
Prior to the start of the eighth rounds, Roman’s trainer, Eddie Gonzalez, told him was down on the cards. Roman responded with one of his better rounds, going to the body in an attempt to slow Fulton down.
In the ninth, Fulton returned to dominating pounding lead rights flush off Roman’s face and catching him coming forward with jabs. “Cool Boy Steph” began sitting on his punches in the tenth, backing Roman up with hard shots to the head and body.
The eleventh featured more of the same as he stood his ground. Fulton plowed Roman with left hooks, left uppercuts to the body and straight rights in the pocket.
“Any moment he had, I took it right away from him,” Fulton said. “I neutralized the threat. I started walking him down because I saw that he had been slowing down. I feel like the more I kept boxing, the more I just got a little tired of boxing. Me trying to walk forward to him wasn’t going to happen all the time, but I definitely saw him slowing down. I wanted to stop him but I didn’t get that.”
Afterward, Fulton called for an undisputed match next.
“You already know what’s next,” Fulton exclaimed. “I want [WBA/IBF titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev]. I got to finish this up. But much respect for Danny Roman. Much respect.”
David Morrell keeps rolling, stops Kalvin Henderson in four
David Morrell Jr. may only have seven pro fights, but it’s clear he’s ready for the big names in the super middleweight division.
In the co-feature, the 24-year-old Morrell steamrolled gutsy challenger Kalvin Henderson, stopping him at 2:35 of the fourth round.
“I want to thank my trainer Ronnie Shields who did an excellent job today,” Morrell said. “That’s what our game plan was, to be concentrated and if I didn’t get him by the end of the first round, I was looking to get him in the later rounds.
“I’m excited. Thank you everyone for coming out to The Armory. I’m just happy, man. I’m happy. I’m so excited every time I fight in my new home in Minnesota. I made this place my home. I was 150% ready for the fight. I had that extra edge of 50%, so I’m 150% every time I fight.”
It didn’t take Morrell long. Probably about 17 seconds, before the WBA super middleweight world champion began turning the heat on Henderson.
The Cuban southpaw had Henderson (15-2-1, 11 KOs) pinned up against the ropes, using long jabs, strafing straight lefts to the body, left uppercuts, and right hooks around Henderson’s high guard.
In the closing seconds of the first round, Morrell had opened a cut on Henderson’s left eye.
Morrell (7-0, 7 KOs) was relentless, beginning the second on the same torrid pace that he fought with in the first. Primarily using the left uppercut, Morrell backed up Henderson in a corner and unloaded. Henderson tried using a counter left hook to keep Morrell off of him. It didn’t work.
Morrell continued to land punch after punch in the third. This time, it was a vicious right hook doing the damage. A barrage of punches in the final :15 of the round caused referee Luis Pabon to take a close look at Henderson and consider stopping the fight.
Pabon walked Henderson back to his corner after the third. He also told Henderson and his corner to show him something in the fourth.
It was Morrell that was showing he could stay with any elite 168-pounder. A right hook with :54 left in the fourth signaled the beginning of the end for Henderson. Another right hook, followed by a straight left, and another right hook caused Pabon to step in and wave it off.
“Ronnie Shields explained to me in the corner that (the right hook) was open,” Morrell said. “He told me to wait until I see that one punch that is going to hurt him. And that’s what I did and I executed correctly. I’m ready for everyone at 168. I’m open for everything. Call me! Call my team. I’m ready for everyone at 168 pounds.
“I promised my brother a stoppage in rounds one through five. Promise fulfilled! And with a round to spare in the fourth. I’m looking at my phone now and I’m seeing all the messages from my family. That’s what this is all about for me.
“It’s David Benavidez, it’s Caleb Plant, it’s Anthony Dirrell. It’s whoever wants to get in the ring with me. I’m ready for any of them.”
For a closer look at Fulton vs Roman, check out our fight night page.