Stephen Fulton’s Cool Boy nickname typifies his boxing style in the ring. He is a fighter who has all the slick boxing skills in the game to have a successful career and potentially be one of the best of p4p in the sport.
He is from The City Of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Where fighters always have an expectation from the outside. Due to the history associated with the Rocky or even the Creed films in more modern times.
But it is in fact a city that always produced and developed great champions and true pugilists such as Meldrick Taylor, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Joe Frazier, and Bernard Hopkins to name a few.
Stephen Fulton, arguably fits into one of the greats already, having become a unified world champion at 122lbs, and only seems to be getting better. In this boxing-style analysis blog, I’m going to take a closer look at what makes Fulton one of the coolest fighters out there.
You can watch my video version or continue reading below:
As mentioned Fulton was born in Philadelphia with a very tough upbringing with crime and violence all around him. With people around his community selling drugs and even childhood friends being killed. But Fulton chose a different route.
After his Dad came out of prison, he introduced him to boxing saying:
“My Dad, Stephen Fulton Sr., came home, got me into boxing and I began to focus all of my experiences growing up — like losing friends to the streets — into the anger, rage, and hostility in the ring. That’s given me all that I need to be successful, and I’m truly grateful for my father, for getting me into boxing.”Stephen Fulton talking To PBC
From here it has only been up for Cool Boy. Trained by Hamza Muhammad out of the James Shuler Boxing Gym in West Philadelphia, Fulton earned amateur titles in the Silver and Golden Gloves.
He also would be trained by the late Naazim Richardson, who trained the likes of Shane Mosely and Bernard Hopkins. No doubt this really helped to shape Fulton into the fighter he is today.
And the proof is in the pudding of his hard work as he won his first world title in 2020 and then unified against Brandon Figueroa in 2021.
But not let’s have a look at his boxing style.
Fulton’s Boxing Style
As mentioned before Fulton is a slick boxer whose style is best when being an out boxer or counterpuncher. However, when the opportunity arises, he will take those opportunities when on the inside.
But he does at most look comfortable when using his jab or lead hand with a bit of distance between him and his opponent.
His stance and balance have been perfected for his style as he shimmies backward or forward while changing the level of his lead hand to set up his right hand. Or quickly covering up or getting behind his lead shoulder.
The Lead Hand
Now Fulton’s lead hand is the best weapon in his arsenal. Everything comes off this punch in his career to date. If you are looking to study a fighter who uses the most jab in different variations. He is the man to watch.
He will use it in the following ways.
- To prob
- Double jabs
- Jab to the body
- Throwing the hook off it.
- The up jab
- To set up the straight right
- Fire from different angles in level changes
See in action below:
In my opinion, I would probably say he is one of the best jabbers in boxing right now due to how he is constantly changing the way he uses it. This, therefore, creates hesitation from competitors as they get into the fight as they don’t know or can’t keep up with what Fulton will do next.
Feet first in boxing is key, it helps you offensively by getting yourself into range throw punches, while defensively it can help you move in and out of danger of your opponent.
From watching any of Fulton’s fights, you can tell he is very well-trained in his footwork and stance.
If we take a closer look at his feet they are hardly coming together and are parallel with the knees slightly bent always in perfect balance for offense or defense. This, therefore, helps Fulton in his smooth style when he is using his jab, setting up combinations, counter-punching, or evading punches. He is a very good example to fundamentally follow.
When going forward or throwing his jab his feet move with his front foot and when moving out of range he would move his back foot. Moreover his great natural balance, he’ll sometimes break the rules and cross his feet to get off the center line when moving to his left.
One of the tricks you will often see Fulton use is foot pivot to get himself out of trouble especially when the heat is on him. This takes a lot of skills and good timing as he usually bends with his waist before moving out of the way.
It is actually very similar to how the great Cuban champion Rigondeux or even Floyd Mayweather. I recommend you watch this short clip below of Fulton’s footwork in action.
Now a big part of his defense comes from his brilliant footwork as just discussed. However, I wanted to touch on some other areas he will use in his style.
Being from Philadelphia, he will use the famous Philly shell shoulder roll at times and use waist movement to dodge the punches. He doesn’t do this too often, but it certainly gets him out of certain situations.
Against far more aggressive fighters, sometime he’ll have no choice but to use a high guard defense and block shots with gloves. If he gets pushed back to the ropes he’ll keep in the higher guard defense before using lateral movement so he doesn’t get trapped there.
Another area is his use of basic wrestling when he gets an aggressive fighter trying to push him back on the ropes. He will look to try to tie them up by undercooking his arms and then turning them around on the ropes. This really works for Fulton in terms of getting himself out of trouble to back into the center ring or have the ref intervene. So he can get back to fighting on the outside using his jab.
As mentioned before, he’s had to face quite aggressive styles of fighting. Often you would see him get hit cleanly from time to time. But I feel Fulton since becoming champion is really starting to improve his inside game.
When on the inside you will often Fulton use uppercuts or hooks before using a defensive maneuver. Or even attacking the guard before going to the body.
But what he does best for me is setting up his right uppercut. He will throw it, then immediately go to the body with hooks, which often will see his opponent drop their guard before he fires a nice crisp uppercut.
He’s always changing the target of his punches on the inside and continuing to perfect this area, It won’t be long before he is complete fight. Check out his fight with Figueroa for examples of this below.
Counter punching and set-ups
Now the other part of Fulton’s game I love is just his great overall counterpunching. Due to his out-puncher style using his jab. It will eventually frustrate his competitor and make them over-commit to try to land a big shot on him.
Fulton for the most part is always ready for these punches and will tend to use his counter left hooks or right uppercuts as they come into the distance.
In terms of setting up his other punches, it all comes off the work he does with the jab, but also just his use of feints, level changes, and upper body movements, which really help Fulton to find different gaps in opponents’ guard. Where he is able to throw different but simple combinations of punches.
Even when on the inside, he’ll catch a shot before firing back with a counter. See his fight with Roman for examples of this below:
Now the final topic I want to address is just his ring IQ as a whole, he is just a very smart fighter. He understands the importance of distance and controlling the pace of the fight.
Before his fight with Angelo Leo for his first world title, he was involved in a Reddit Q&A here, where he responded with some interesting answers to some questions about his boxing IQ and how he thinks in the ring. But I wanted to cover this response by Fulton and give you an example.
A brilliant example of this was in his fight with Avelar who is a southpaw. Usually, when a southpaw is defending he will tend to slip or bend to his left. When Fulton was facing this, throwing the jab he would mix up and double it. Eventually, he was able to identify Avelar bending to his left often and would then immediately start throwing straight right or right hook. Catching Avelar many times. (see in action below)
This may only seem like a minor thing for some, but from watching the fight you can tell Fulton was watching and downloading what was in front of him so he could then land that punch.
Fulton’s tough upbringing, great teachings, and personal determination have helped to reach the top of the sport today.
He has a brilliant blend of solid fundamentals while using the slick advanced skills you would expect from a fighter of Philly. His cool style is very much turning into his own, which I believe many more should model after.
I personally have no doubt he can continue to dominate in the years to come and continue to improve his skills further.
I would love to see him go for undisputed at 122lbs or even fight the Monster Inoue one day.
And that wraps up this boxing style analysis let me know what you think of his Fulton do you think he can dominate in the years to come?
Make sure to check out my breakdown on fellow Philly fighter Jaron Ennis or why not check out my Naoya Inoue breakdown?
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