Barclays, NY–The 25-year-old Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) owned the IBO 122-pound championship prior to the fight, but he gave up the title before entering the ring. He had to give up that championship in order for the WBO to sanction this as an elimination match for its title.
Fulton entered the ring in his black and white trunks with “Cool Boy” on the back of them. “ The Cool Boy won by unanimous decision. Judges Frank Lombardi (117-111), John McKaie (116-112) and Waleska Roldan (117-111) each scored their fight for Fulton by comfortable margins.
There wasn’t a doubt this would be Fulton‘s toughest test. Khegai (16-1-1, 10 KOs) entered the fight ranked as the No. 2 contender in the World Boxing Organization at 122 pounds. Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) was ranked eighth.
The 27-year-old Khegai (16-1-1, 10 KOs) is ranked No. 2 by the WBO among its junior featherweight contenders to champion Emanuel Navarrete (30-1, 26 KOs). Fulton is ranked No. 8, but will definitely move ahead of Khegai now that Fulton has beaten him.
“I felt great against a tough opponent,” Fulton told Showtime’s Jim Gray following his victory. “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.
With the fight in hand, Fulton landed two overhand rights early in the 12th round. Khegai bobbed and weaved through his shots and had no difficulty making it to the final bell.
Khegai hit Fulton with a right hand, another right hand and a left hook a minute into the 11th round. Fulton laughed and shook his head to show Khegai his punches didn’t faze him.
Referee Steve Willis instructed a New York State Athletic Commission inspector to tell Khegai after the 11th round that he’d have a point deducted if he committed another foul in the 12th round. Willis had warned Khegai at least three times earlier in the fight for illegal tactics.
A right hand by Fulton backed Khegai into Fulton’s corner with 1:40 left in the 10th round. About 30 seconds later, Fulton implored Khegai to come forward and unloaded a right to his head and a left to his body, both of which landed.
Fulton kept his composure, kept to the game plan to keep the pressure on, and didn’t let Khegai rattle him at all or throw him off. The win sets Fulton up for a possible shot at the belt currently held by Top Rank’s Emanuel Navarrete.
“I felt great,” Fulton said after the win. “He was a tough opponent, I just felt good. I stayed on my game plan, kept boxing, didn’t get pulled into his game. I kept my composure because that’s what we paid for. He’s a tough guy, we knew he’d come to fight. My jab is always effective. I try to be smart with it and utilize it a lot.”