By Jon Uddin✏
Philadelphia’s 🇺🇸Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton (18-0-0, 8KO) began his 2020 campaign with a win over previously undefeated 🇺🇦Arnold “Arni” Khegai (16-1-1, 10KO) in a 12 round bout that took place on the undercard of the Welterweight headliner between Danny Garcia and Ivan Redkach at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
January 26, 2020
Fulton W (UD 116-112, 117-111, 117-111): Fulton is known for having an educated jab, and Saturday night against Khegai he put it on full display, landing 83 of the 328 jabs he threw. His jab set the tone in the opening rounds as it set up combinations with the left hook and opportunities to deliver right hooks to the body of Khegai. In the third round Khegai found small moments where he could land some body work but more often than not he was tied up by Fulton. After a few of these Khegai decided to remind Fulton and the crowd that he has no problem making things ugly, displaying some of his wrestling skill and throwing the Philly fighter to the canvas. In the fourth round Khegai was able to close the gap in the ring between him and Fulton, working effectively without smothering his own shots.
In the middle rounds Fulton regained control of the tone of the fight, navigating the ring well behind his jab, and not allowing himself to get trapped on the ropes which would have allowed Khegai to really get some of his best work done. Khegai would give Fulton a little taste of his Thai boxing background in the eighth round, a sign of some of the frustration he was feeling from Fulton effectively putting his game plan into action.
In the late rounds Khagei was still pushing for some inside action and found opportunities in the eleventh, arguably winning the round, but Fulton wasn’t effected enough to sway the momentum and closed the fight behind the jab, the way he opened it.
Analysis: A very good performance from Fulton who kept his composure against a game Khegai who tried to get under his skin with his roughhouse tactics, and controlled the fight with a steady jab and body work. Fulton is another young Philly fighter along with Welterweight Jaron Ennis that looks to be on track for a title shot this year. A fight with current WBA (REGULAR) Super-Bantamweight Champion Brandon Figueroa would be ideal next.
Total: 182-535 34%
Jabs: 83-328 25%
Power: 99-207 48%
Total: 123-649 19%
Jabs: 28-222 13%
Power: 95-427 22%
January 21, 2020
Fulton is out to stake his claim at 122: Fulton went 3-0 with two knockouts in 2019, picking up the IBO version of the Super-Bantamweight after dominating Namibia’s Paulus Ambunda, winning 120-107 on all three judges scorecards. Three months later he would pick apart then undefeated Isaac Avelar, stopping him in the sixth round with a vicious left hook to the body.
Saturday night in Brooklyn, Fulton will fight for the WBO intercontinental title . He takes on Arnold Khegai who will be the seventh opponent that has come into the ring undefeated against him. “Cool Boy Steph” has received high praise in boxing circles and not just from his Philadelphia counterparts, but also former two division World Champion Carl Frampton, who brought Fulton into his training camp for his fight with Nonito Donaire in 2018.
Opening up the Showtime broadcast, Fulton has let it be known that he intends to steal the show and outshine his Philly counterpart Danny Garcia who headlines the card. Fulton feels this is the fight that will put the Super-Bantamweight division on notice, and also put some respect on the IBO title he holds as he recognizes that it’s held in a lesser light compared to the other alphabet titles. Currently Fulton is unranked by the IBF, #11 WBC, #7 WBA, and #8 WBO.
Record: 17-0-0, 8KO
From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
KO Rate: 47%
Alias: Cool Boy Steph
Debut: October 4, 2014
Years Pro: 6
Trainer: Hamza Muhammad
January 21, 2020
Khegai faced with toughest task: Arnold Khegai went 2-0 in 2019, defeating Haidari Mchanjo by eighth round stoppage, and Vladimir Tikhonov by eight round unanimous decision. The 27 year old former Ukrainian national champion, and two time Thai boxing world champion, whose parents are of Korean descent, made his debut in the United States on a Philly fight card in May of 2018 and now calls the “City of Brotherly Love” home.
Khegai hasn’t suffered a loss so far in his career but he does carry a draw from his sixth fight that prevents him from having a perfect record. Khegai has stated that he views himself as an explosive and aggressive fighter that loves the action of the exchanges, and you can see that play out when he is in the ring, as he is more than willing to take one to give two. Khegai likes to get the fight going on the inside and isn’t shy about turning it into a brawl or making things a little dirty when he sees fit. Khegai currently sits at #2 in the WBO rankings and #5 in the IBF, while being outside of the top 15 of the WBC and WBA.
Record: 16-0-1, 10KO
From: Lymanske, Ukraine
KO Rate: 59%
Debut: October 28, 2015
Years Pro: 5
Trainer: Marvin Somodio
January 21, 2020
Fight Outlook: Fulton wants his name mentioned with the other stars at 122 and an impressive win over Khegai should solidify that. The result will be the same for Khegai should he find a way to pull off the huge upset here. At (-1600) Fulton enters as the heavy favorite over Khegai (+800) Saturday night.
As stated before Khegai likes to get the fight on the inside where he can bang, and so far the opponents he has faced have played right into that game plan. Don’t expect life to be so easy against the slick Fulton, who will make Khegai prove that he has the footwork to keep the pressure on. Along with his footwork, Fulton has the stinging jab and strong right hand to keep the aggressive Khegai at bay, which should allow him to rack up round after round, on his way to a late stoppage.