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.
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.