Over the last few months we've seen the Japanese boxing scene change drastically. We've seen a number of retirements, a number of title changes and we've seen several of the top fighters begin to look their age. Whilst that sounds bad for Japanese boxing the truth is that the new wave of fighters already appear to be here, lead by WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8) [井上 尚弥] who returns to the ring on May 8th to defend his title against mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-2-5, 8).
The Japanese 23 year old looks not only like a genuine star but looks like one of the most complete fighters on the planet, and a man who may well go one to not only “break America” but become a genuine sporting star. Out of the ring he's naturally charismatic, charming and in the ring he's exciting, aggressive and and a genuine phenomenon. It's easy to just look at his record and claim he's a novice but the reality is that he's a very special fighter and already holds notable wins over Ryoichi Taguchi, Adrian Hernandez and Omar Andres Narvaez, with the win over Narvaez being the win that really generated an international buzz about the “Monster”.
In the ring Inoue combines frighting power with lightning speed and incredible boxing ability. Looking for a flaw in Inoue's boxing is next to impossible right now and almost everything he does looks incredibly fluid, as if he was a well oiled, perfectly designed fighting machine.
For those who haven't followed Inoue they may have only seen a couple of his fights, perhaps only his destruction of Narvaez from late 2014, and his most recent bout against Warlito Parrenas. If they are the only two bouts you've seen you'd perhaps think he was just an incredible seek and destroy fighter. The reality however is that he's a brilliant pure boxer who can box on the back foot, as he did in his second bout against Ngaoprajan Chuwatana, and he can box and move, as he did against Yuki Sano, in a bout that he fought mostly 1-handed.
He has become a seek and destroy fighter, but the reality is that he has a lot in his locker and we suspect he can pull what he needs, when he needs, if he needs. The fact he has shown an ability to box, bang, brawl and counter really is a worrying thing for his opponents, as is the fact the he appears to be getting better and already seems to have some of the best body punches, and combinations in world boxing.
When it comes to the challenger there is, unfortunately, little that really stands out about the 25 year old Mexican. In fact in many ways he appears to be a man who really has done very, very, very little to deserve a mandatory title fight. His first bout of note came back in 2013, when he narrowly beat Danny Flores for the WBO Youth title, and after two defenses he was given his first world title fight. That world title fight ended with Carmona being stopped in 7 rounds by Narvaez back in December 2013, in what was impressively Carmona's 5th bout of the year.
Since losing to Narvaez we've seen Carmona go 4-0-1, with the draw being a very contentious one against Warlito Parrenas in a bout that Carmona really should have lost. Notably the Parrenas bout was for the WBO “interim” title and the winner was supposed to face Inoue, instead both men have ended up facing Inoue given that Inoue beat Parrenas at the end of last year and will now be facing Carmona.
Carmona's level seems to have been found out with his losses to Narvae and his draw with Parrenas. Although he has improved, and developed, the fact is that he's genuinely not a fighter who has anything to trouble Inoue with. As a result we suspect he will become the third successive victim to fall within 2 rounds against Inoue who will almost certainly be looking to make his US debut later this year.
At the moment the Super Flyweight division promises a lot though has, unfortunately, failed to shine this year. A big part of that disappointment has been down to the serious hand injury suffered by WBO champion Naoya Inoue, who has been out all year. Inoue's injury has lead to the WBO sanctioning a bout for their interim title with that bout set to take place on June 20th in Mexico, and the winner set to fight Inoue up on the “Monster's” return to the ring.
The interim title bout, a real rarity for the WBO, looks like an intriguing contest on paper and will see Filipino slugger Warlito Parrenas (24-6, 21) take on Mexico's David Carmona (19-2-4, 8). We'll admit it's not a divisional super bout, such as contests involving the likes of Inoue, Carlos Cuadras or Zolani Tete, but it's still a tasty looking match up.
Of the two men Parrenas is the more experienced and, in many ways, the more well known. He's also the clear puncher coming in to this bout but has shown fragility
The Filipino 31 year old began his career back in 2007 following a solid amateur career. Sadly however Parrenas' early career didn't go too well and within 18 months of being a professional his record read 6-3 (4). It was clear he could hit like a truck but he had himself been stopped and was generally viewed as being a bit wild and even over-reliant on his power.
Unfortunately over the years that followed Parrenas seemed to progress slowly and was beaten the few times he stepped up in competition. By the start of April 2011 he was 12-5 (10) though had been stopped thrice with notable stoppages to both Marlon Tapales and Jonathan Taconing in his two most telling bouts. It was then that life changed for Parenas who went to Japan and started to really make a name for himself with wins over the likes of Atushi Kakutani, Koji Itagaki and Isaac Junior. During a 19 month stint in Japan Parrenas went 6-1 (6) and built his reputation and ability. That reputation has since been enhanced with 6 wins back home in the Philippines, include a wide decision over Espinos Sabu and stoppages over Junior Bajawa and Hengky Baransano.
Crude but powerful Parrenas is a fun to watch slugger and although he has improved his boxing he is still somewhat defensively naïve and appears to still have a questionable chin. He is however the sort of fighter who enters the ring with a “stop or be stopped” mentality and that generally makes for fun fights.
Carmona on the other hand is a 24 year old Mexican who began his career back in 2009. His career didn't start great and after just 7 bouts he was 4-1-2. Since that start he has turned his career around and is a 2-time WBO Youth Super Flyweight champion and current WBO Latino Super Flyweight champion.
Although not particularly well known Carmona's name may be familiar to fans of the lower weights. That'll be because of his 2013 fight with Omar Andres Narvaes. That bout saw Carmona challenging for the WBO world title and coming up very short against the Argentinian veteran who stopped the Mexican in the 7th round. That bout came far too early for Carmona who was out fought and bullied by the Argentinian maestro who was saved by his corner.
Since the loss to Narvaez we've seen Carmona pick up a trio of decision wins in 10 round bouts. On the whole the opponents were decent but nothing great and really shouldn't have elevated Carmona to a world title fight, or even an interim title fight, but they have and that's where we are now.
From watching Carmona in the past he's looked like he's lacking real power and can be forced backwards. He does have some nice movement and punch selection but his inability to make opponents respect him is an issue, likewise he often appears to wait too long before getting shots off. Those flaws haven't cost him too badly in the past though they will do when he steps up a level, like he is here.
Although Carmona is the home fighter we really don't see him having anything to trouble Parrenas. In fact if anything the Mexican is bringing a knife to a gun fight and Parrenas will look to walk down the Mexican and stop him. We know that Parrenas can be hurt but given Carmona's lack of power it's really hard to see him doing anything to stop Parrenas from coming forward and slowly but surely breaking him down.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.