Stephen Fulton had many sequences that displayed his dominance over Daniel Roman, but one in particular seemed to summarize his performance.
In the closing seconds of the 10th round, Fulton stuck his tongue out at the challenger, circled away from any danger as Roman missed his punches. For Fulton, Saturday night was a boxing masterclass.
He dominated Roman in a unanimous decision victory to retain the WBC and WBO junior featherweight titles. The judges’ scorecards showed the fight was as lopsided as it looked — 120-108, 120-108, 119-109, all for Fulton.
“I made a hell of a statement tonight,” Fulton said in the post-fight interview on Showtime. “I prepared for this. I told y’all I was going to make it easy and fight depending on how I woke up. And I woke up feeling good.”
The punch stats verified what the judges and a sold-out crowd of 4,695 inside the Armory in Minneapolis saw. According to CompuBox, Fulton more than doubled Roman in connected punches, 36.2% to 16.8%. When it came to power punches, Fulton landed nearly 46% of them.
Early on, Fulton (20-0, 8 KOs) searched for an overhand right hand to catch Roman, a former unified champion in the weight class. As the fight progressed, the undefeated fighter from Philadelphia used his movement to keep Roman off balance while looking for windows to land his own punches.
In the seventh round, Roman (29-4-1, 10 KOs) tried to push the tempo with Fulton pulling away. Judge Nathan Palmer scored the round for Roman, the lone consolation point in the evening. Otherwise, it was all Fulton, who had full command inside the ring.
“He knew how to use his distance,” Roman said in his post-fight interview. “It was hard for me to adjust to his distance because he was boxing.”
Fulton continued his ascent in the 122-pound division that has made him one of the top fighters in the sport. In January 2021, he beat Angelo Leo to win the WBO belt. Ten months later, he topped Brandon Figueroa in a majority decision to acquire the WBC title, too.
After the fight, Fulton said he wants to become the division’s undisputed champion by taking on Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who holds the other half of the titles. Akhmadaliev won the WBA and IBF belts by beating Roman via split decision in January 2020. Roman said he believes Fulton is the best junior featherweight in the world.
And Fulton is more than eager to prove him right.
Said Fulton: “We gotta finish this up.”