The Inoue family appear set to have a dynasty in boxing, lead by 2-weight world champion Naoya Inoue and his father Shingo Inoue. Along with that father and son combination is Naoya's cousin Koki Inoue, who looks to be a fast rising star at 140lbs, and Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (6-0, 1).
Takuma, the youngest of the Inoue clan, will be returning to action on May 8th to hunt his second defense of the OPBF Super Flyweight title as he faces little known Indonesian Afrizal Tamboresi (12-4, 6)*.
Coming in to this one very little footage is available of the Indonesian who debuted way back in 2004, as a 19 year old. Despite the lack of footage we do know that he has shown particularly good form outside of Indonesia. At home he is 12-2, including a win over former world title challenger Jack Siahaya, whilst on his travels he is 0-2 with losses to Brad Hore and Rocky Fuentes both last year.
Looking at the other details available on Tamboresi don't make him seem very impressive with his wins coming against very limited opposition, including Siahaya who was a terrible world title challenger and his losses have come when he has stepped up. Notably the footage that is available is less than exciting with Tamboresi looking offensively wild and defensively flawed, with his chin often being up in the air when he's punching.
Whilst little footage of Tamboresi is available we have a lot to go on when it comes to Inoue, who has had fights filmed from ringside by fans as well as having had several fights aired on TV, with Fuji TV showing them. Not only has he had a lot of footage but, for a man with 6 fights, he has faced some very notable competition including current Japanese Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara, former world title challengers Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Nestor Daniel Narvaez, and highly regarded contender Mark Anthony Geraldo.
Although lacking in the power of his older brother we have been impressed through Takuma's career with his pure boxing, speed, work rate and skills. At his best he's an “outside fight” but has shown an ability to mix it on the inside when he feels he needs to and although not a puncher, like his brother, he does hit hard enough to earn the respect of his opponents.
Whilst it can be difficult to predict a bout when one of the fighters has very little footage available we do know enough about Takuma to know that he's the favourite and that he should extend his winning run here with out too many issues. The big question is whether or not he'll be able to stop the Indonesian or not. We suspect he will probably in the middle rounds, but of course Tamboresi may have real grit and survive the distance en route to a clear loss.
*Tamboresi's record has also been mentioned as being 7-9 and 10-3 in the past, though as wel know Indonesian records are rarely complete.
It's fair to say that Naoya Inoue has been a revelation in his short career, and has managed to increase interest in both Asian boxing and the lower weights. Whilst Naoya is clearly a phenom he's not the only champion in the family as his younger brother, Takuma Inoue (5-0, 1) is also champion, holding the OPBF Super Flyweight title. December 29th Takuma looks to make the first defense of that title as he takes on Filipino Rene Dacquel (15-5-1, 5).
The 20 year old Inoue is trained by his father, like his brother and cousin Koki Inoue, and whilst he has got the same name and trainer as Naoya he has a very different style and very different attributes. He doesn't have Naoya's insane strength or power but he does have a sharp boxing brain, great movement and really knows how to use his speed to fight on the outside and neutralise opponents on the inside.
It's been his outside boxing that has seen Inoue quickly rise through the ranks whilst being matched very aggressively. Already in his career he has beaten two fighters who have fought for world titles, Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Nestor Daniel Narvaes, and the then world ranked Mark Anthony Geraldo. Whilst he has stopped any of those good fighters he has also scarcely lost more than a round or two in those bouts combined. If anything his major “issue” has been an ability to stop his foes, though he has never really looked trouble by anything they've thrown at him, despite a “knockdown” call against him when he fought Geraldo.
Physically Inoue looks like a very solid and strong Super Flyweight. At the moment though he doesn't seem to be a puncher, at all. He seems to acknowledge that himself and seems happier to use his skills rather than go into a brawl. It's a tactic that may not make him fans but will get him success and will help him refrain from taking unnecessary shots at this stage of his career.
Whilst Takuma is a man expected to move up to world level the same cannot be said of Dacquel, a Filipino fighter who has had success of his own, but isn't viewed as a super prospect or anything similar. In fact in fairness to Dacquel he'll likely be a man expected to become a stable on the Oriental title scene over the coming years.
The Filipino has been a professional since 2011. Early on he fought some limited opponents but in 2013, in his first visit to Japan, he stopped Yuki Nasu in a genuinely notable victory. Sadly any momentum of that win was killed almost immediately as he went 1-2-1 in his following 4 bouts. Recently however he has rebuilt with some wins, it's true that he's 3-2 in his last 5 but wins against Melvin Gumban, for the GAB title, Thembelani Nxoshe, in South Africa for the IBO International title, are outstanding results.
Footage of Dacquel is somewhat difficult to find though he's certainly an under-rated puncher, as seen in his stoppage of Nasu, and he's also a man who travels with confidence, as seen in his wins on the rode. He's defensively solid and smart, though he has been dropped a number of times through his career including a knockdown 2 fights ago against Jonas Sultan, who has since incidentally lost to Inoue's stablemate Go Onaga. The fact he has scored good wins, by decision, shows that there is plenty of skill there.
Whilst Dacquel is certainly coming into this bout as an under-rated fighter, and he is a very live under-dog, we do suspect that he will be left chasing shadows by Inoue's movement and speed. Dacquel isn't slow himself but we suspect that Inoue will have a speed advantage and will go on to claim a clear, but well fought, decision. Dacquel might show some frustration late but we don't see him really getting punished for those mistakes. As a result we're going with a wide decision win to the defending champion.
Takuma Inoue looks to prove himself in first title bout, but will he over-come Mark Anthony Geraldo?
At the end of last year there was one Japanese name on the lips of every self respecting boxing fan. Naoya Inoue. The Japanese youngster had burst into the conciousness of fans around the world following a stellar 2014 that saw him being regarded by many as the Fighter of the Year. What many didn't realise however that Naoya isn't the family's only boxing sensation and that his younger brother, Takuma Inoue (4-0, 1) was also being groomed for stardom.
On July 6th we'll see the 19 year old Takuma take part in his first title bout as he takes on the very experienced Filipino fighter Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-5-3, 14), who despite his experience is only a youngster himself at 23 years old. The bout is potentially a break out contest for both men and the winner will almost certainly move towards a bigger bout later this year, whilst the loser will be forced to rebuild but will almost certainly come back stronger given their age.
For those who haven't seen him Takuma is very very different from his brother. Naoya, as we all know, is a Monster. Naoya trades not only on his speed and skills but also his incredible physical strength and his frightening power. As for Takuma his calling card is his speed, movement and accuracy. You won't see Takuma Inoue battering people with forceful shots thrown with the intention of breaking somebodies internal organs, instead you'll see Takuma circle his foe, punch on the move and accept winning bouts with wide decisions.
Unlike many novices Takuma hasn't been protected by his team. His father and trainer, Shingo Inoue, and manager, former world champion Hideyuki Ohashi, know they have a very talented fighter on their hands and they have already matched him with fighters like Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, who he took on in his second bout, and Nestor Daniel Narvaes, who he fought in his fourth bout. They have matched him hard and seen him pass his tests with flying colours, scarcely dropping a round so far.
Despite not being a big puncher Takuma is physically very strong and when forced to fight in the pocket he can do so with no real issue. He looks more natural boxing and moving, luring opponents onto his shots but he can take the fight to his foes where needed. What is really impressive however is his understanding of range, both offensively and defensively and his his footwork really is incredible for such a novice with lots of clever half half steps.
It's easy to wax lyrical about Takuma but of course he's not the only fighter in action here. Of course the half of the bout is Filipino fighter Geraldo who has both impressed us and disappointed up, sometimes in the same fight.
For many fans the only time they've seen the Filipino is his 2014 bout with Efrain Perez. Early on in that bout Geraldo looked like a potential star in the making. He was fast, sharp, accurate, elusive and threw some beautiful combinations whilst thoroughly out classing Perez. For 3 rounds Geraldo looked genuinely amazing and like a nailed on future world champion. But then things changed and for the subsequent 3 rounds he struggled, spoiled, looked tired, and looked like a different fighter who struggled to actually win the 6 round bout. Incidentally that bout was originally scheduled for 8 rounds and seemed to be changed on the fly, had it not been Geraldo may well have come undone as he looked like he was really struggling.
Geraldo has only fought once since the bout with Perez, losing a very wide decision to McJoe Arroyo in an IBF world title eliminator. That bout was in Puerto Rico last December and was a very wide defeat for the Filipino who seemingly got out boxed, out fought and totally controlled by the talented Puerto Rican prospect. Unfortunately for Geraldo that bout seemed to show that he was a long way removed from being “world class”
Whilst his last two bouts were his most high profile they aren't Geraldo's only bouts of note. He has suffered notable losses to Arthur Villanueva, who beat him via a close technical decision and Oleydong Sithsamerchai, losing a unanimous decision whilst noting wins over Jerwin Ancajas, a close decision, and Hirofumi Mukai, who he surprisingly stopped in 2 rounds in Japan. Interestingly he's well travelled with fights in Thailand, Japan, Macau and Puerto Rico, and holds a 2-2 record on the road.
On song and in form Geraldo is a very classy boxer-puncher. He's accurate, effective and can look sensational despite only really doing the basics. There's nothing overtly flashy about him and he's not awesomely heavy handed, but he does do a lot of things very well. The question marks about him though are his stamina, how he reacts when things are going against him and how he'll fair with a guy who really fights well on the move. Geraldo is certainly experienced but there are a lot of things that we aren't convinced of.
Although we know not to rule out a Geraldo win, especially considering what he did to Mukai, we're not sure he can derail the rise of Takuma Inoue who looks like a nailed on future world champion. Geraldo will be a fantastic test for the Japanese teenager but we really don't imagine he'll run Takuma close.
We're expecting a competitive start before Takuma runs away with the bout in the middle and later rounds to take a comfortable decision win. If he manages to look impressive en route to a win there is every chance Ohashi will put a lot of money on the table for Takuma to get a world title fighter later in the year, possibly even on the same show as Naoya's comeback bout. Interestingly if Geraldo wins he would almost certainly become a target for Naoya to face either later this year, or early next year.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.