In a spectacular night for boxing, live from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, West Philadelphia’s own Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) took on Ukraine’s hard hitting Arnold Khegai (16-1, 10 KOs) in a 12 round WBO intercontinental eliminator bout.
In a hard fought and competitive contest, Fulton who showed exemplary composure as he remained calm throughout the fight, rolling with the punches amidst moments of adversity during exchanges.
Fulton, who has given his last seven undefeated opponents their first loss, was able to cross off yet another undefeated name on his list on his way to the top of the Super Bantamweight division, bringing his record to a perfect 18-0.
Fulton opened the first round with a nice strong jab, setting up a straight left to the face of Khegai.
Khegai, who seemed uncomfortable, unsuccessfully attempted to close up the gap and bring Fulton to the ropes.
Fulton came into the second round confident, opening with his jab and keeping Khegai at bay.
A seemingly flustered Khegai strived to apply pressure, however Fulton avoided the ropes and stayed in the middle of the ring while consistently throwing straights to the body of Khegai.
Fulton started to warm up by Round 3 and showed off good head movement and defensive skills by landing three powerful counter jabs to the chin of Khegai.
Khegai, showing signs of frustration, was unable to find his rhythm and threw Fulton down to the canvas. Unable to find success in his game plan, Khegai alternated between his southpaw and orthodox stance.
Opening the fifth round, Khegai began to attempt to desperately land on Fulton, who created space and continued working Khegai’s body.
Stepping on the gas and showing off his arsenal of tools, Fulton set Khegai up with a brutal uppercut and vicious body shots in Round 7 and 8, effectively slowing Khegai down and fighting his best rounds of the fight.
Returning fire and testing the toughness of Fulton, Khegai was able to violently rip Fulton with shots to the head. An unaffected Fulton smiled at his opponent from the corner, clowning his attempt to hurt him.
In what turned out to be a tough win, Stephen Fulton got the win decisively on all the judges scorecards, bringing the victory back to Philadelphia where he states he is ready to fight all the way to a unification bout with either WBA champ Brandon Figueroa or WBO champion Emmanuel Navarette.
“I felt great against a tough opponent. I stayed on my boxing, kept him off his game and pulled a victory out. I knew he was a rough and tumble customer, so I just had to keep my composure.
“I want that world title,” said Fulton. “I’m going to train even harder for my next performance so if I have to dog out it out even more, I’ll be ready.”