NAOYA INOUE paid tribute to his next opponent Stephen Fulton during their final press conference on Saturday.

The Japanese phenom moves into his fourth weight class to challenge the American for his two super-bantamweight belts on Tuesday in Tokyo.

Fulton represents arguably the greatest threat to Inoue’s standing in the sport with only Nonito Donaire ever coming close to slaying ‘The Monster’. The American, who plans to move to featherweight in the future, has the size and skills to beat Inoue in many people’s eyes and Tuesday’s challenger is motivated for the task in front of him.

“Coming up to junior featherweight to be able to challenge Stephen Fulton for the title has given me great motivation. I get excited thinking about this fight and about how I will perform. I’ve been watching film of Fulton, and I think he is a very intelligent fighter.”

“I haven’t been a challenger in five years, and that has heightened my motivation as well. I think I will be able to perform better than before.

“Due to my injury, the fight had to be rescheduled for the 25th. And I feel grateful for the cooperation from all the people involved in the promotion and Team Fulton to make this happen. And because of that gratitude, I want to fight with everything I have on the 25th.”

On Monday both fighters weighed in for the one of the most eagerly anticipated fights of the year so far. Fulton came in at 121.9lbs while Inoue stepped on the scales at 121.7lbs, both inside the 122lbs super-bantamweight limit. An intense face-off between the two, something we’re not accustomed to with Inoue, raised the excitement levels even more for their duel tomorrow morning.