Having beaten Crison Omayao, the Filipino champion, on his debut and the Thai champion Ngaoprajan Chuwatana, in his second bout Naoya Inoue took a huge step in bout #3 by taking on former Japanese title challenger Yuki Sano.
Sano had, less than 2 years prior, taken Masayuki Kuroda to a split decision and it was expected that he would really test the young Inoue, especially considering he had never been stopped. Instead what we got was a bit of a masterclass by Inoue, who had seemingly become a star considering the huge reaction he was getting from the fans.
Inoue started slowly though used his jab excellently to get a feel of Sano and quickly seemed to realise that Sano had no answer for his very educated jab that landed almost at will. As the fight progressed Inoue became more and more impressive effectively showing off every part of his game including some brutal straights, devastating uppercuts and a very sharp left hook. It seemed obvious by round 8 that if Inoue couldn't do it it wasn't worth doing.
Whilst the first 2 performances from Inoue were amazing this one was breath taking and one of the combinations he threw late in the fight (around 37:02) may be one of the most beautiful things ever seen in a boxing ring. If you've never seen Inoue but want to know how good he is, this fight is probably the most complete of his performances so far.
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