It's not often that Japanese fighters, fighting in Japan, get a chance to show case themselves. Today however we saw the WBSS turn their focus to Yokohama and the world got a chance to see WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] show how devastating he is. The Japanese sensation was taking on former "Super" champion Juan Carlos Payano (20-2, 9) in what was a WBSS quarter final bout and Inoue's first defense of the WBA title.
Sadly for fans expecting a real show case of Inoue's skills, speed, and movement this wasn't the bout to show them off. Instead this was a 70 second blow out that saw Inoue really only land 2 punches, a brutal 1-2 that dropped Payano for the count.
The bout started with both men jostling for position. Inoue applied some pressure with his footwork from the off. Payano rushed in as he tried an attack but failed to land anything. A few seconds later Inoue threw a hard jab and followed it with a right hand, that dropped Payano hard. The Dominican wouldn't beat the count, and never looked like he was close to it.
With the win Inoue pogresses to the semi-final of the WBSS and shows that he really is the “Monster” with back-to-back opening round wins at Bantamweight.
Whilst Payano had never been stopped before there is an argument that he wasn't really a great opponent. He was 34 years old, had fought just once in the last year, had been dropped twice, and had never faced a world class puncher like Inoue. That however shouldn't take away from how impressive Inoue was, how destructive he looked and how he set two new Japanese records, extending his current stoppage run to 7 fights at world level and scoring his 11th stoppage win at world level, breaking records that he had previously tied with Yoko Gushiken and Takashi Uchiyama, respectively.
When Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14) [井上 尚弥] turned professional his team spoke as if he was a special talent. Soon after his debut he proved it, beating the talented Yuki Sano essentially one handed in just his third bout. He then claimed the Japanese Light Flyweight title in his 4th bout by defeating Ryoichi Taguchi. In just his 6th professional bout he claimed his first world title, stopping Adrian Hernandez for the WBC Light Flyweight title. Less than 9 months later he moved up 2 divisions and destroyed Omar Narvaez for the WBO Super Flyweight title.
Today he impressed again as he ripped the WBA "regular" Bantamweight title from Englishman Jamie McDonnell (29-3-1-1, 13) in less than 2 minutes.
Inoue had stated he was looking to stop McDonnell before the fight, with the Englishman having never previous been stopped. It seemed a brash comment, but given how Inoue, dubbed the "Monster" has fought his career so far it was one few were doubting.
What no one, and we doubt even Inoue was expecting, was the performance he had. He was dwarfed when the fighters met in center ring for the final instructions from the referee but that seemed to be the only thing going against him. Within seconds he had McDonnell, the bigger fighter, circling the ring, and firing off a few jabs. Inoue just walked his man down and landed a huge shot up top that seemed to hurt the Englishman. Inoue smell blood and went for the kill and dropped McDonnell with a body shot.
To his credit McDonnell got back to his feet, but Inoue could see his wounded prey and went back on the offensive, unloading bombs on McDonnell who went down for the second time. The referee had seen enough and instantly waved the fight off.
Although the WBA “regular” title may not be highly regarded a win like this really launches Inoue into the stratosphere at 118lbs, and should secure him a place in the World Boxing Super Series, as well as a place on every fight fans Pound-for-Pound list, not just that of the real hardcore fans.
For McDonnell the future is certainly going to see him moving up in weight, but to have been blitzed in this manner may well end his career. He was beaten up, not just beaten, in 112 seconds by a man he out weighed by 13lbs on the day of the fight and boasted significant size advantages over. When he moves up those size advantages aren't going to be there, and this loss will be in the memory of every future opponent he faces.
Just moments ago we saw the final bout at Super Flyweight for Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (15-0, 13) [井上 尚弥], who recorded his 7th defence of the WBO Super Flyweight title and over-came the naturally bigger French challenger Yoan Boyeaux (41-5, 26) in what was really little more than a show case performance.
The opening round saw Boyeaux, a usually aggressive fighter, take to the outside of the ring whilst Inoue brought the pressure and tried to sneak inside on the taller, longer fighter. It was a mostly quiet round, with only one or two real combinations from Inoue, but what he landed he made count, rocking Boyeaux with a right hand before dropping him with a sweet left hand late in the ring. Had the round gone on much longer that could have been the start of the end but the bell realld saved the challenger.
The second round saw a very cautious Boyeaux fighting on the retreat. Inoue pressed the fight, and landed several solid shots, but Boyeaux was moving too much for the shots to have a lot of effect and by the end of the round it seemed like Inoue was toying with him, looking for a home run shot. What was even worse for Boyeaux is after he landed a huge right hand Inoue didn't even blink, as if telling the challenger that he was happy to take one if he had to.
To begin round 3 Inoue went on the offensive, landing several short right hands before a brutal body shot forced Boyeaux to take a knee. The Frenchman was up almost instantly but gave away just how much pain the shot had caused him. A follow from Inoue saw him attack the compromised torso of the challenger who was down again following 3 solid shots to the mid-section. To his credit Boyeaux got up again, looked ready to fight and the crowd showed their appreciation and respect by applauding Boyeaux's guts but by then the fight was all but over. Inoue continued to hunt his pray, landed one top before going to the body again, sending Boyeaux down and forcing the referee to stop the bout, rather than allow the challenger to take any more punishment.
With the win under his belt the intention from Inoue now is to make a move up to the Bantamweight division and chase a third world title, following issues securing a notable opponent at Super Flyweight. The challenges he faces moving up a division should make for more competitive assignments than this one, with bouts against Zolani Tete, Luis Nery and Ryan Burnett all being mooted for the "Monster".
Earlier this evening fight fans around the globe tuned in for the highly anticipated “Superfly” card, featuring two world title fights. The first of those was a WBO title fight which saw saw Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (14-0, 12) [井上 尚弥] make his US debut, and shine as he dominated American challenger Antonio Nieves (17-2-2, 9).
The opening round could have been a nervy one from Inoue, given it was his first professional bout outside of Japan. Instead however he looked totally relaxed, and not like a man fighting on a major international stage for the first time. He looked controlled with his jab, imposing with his footwork and pressure and in total control. That control took a step up in round two as Inoue stepped up the pace and hurt Nieves with body shots late in the round.
Although Nieves saw out the second round it looked like it was only going to be a case of “how long?” Inoue upped the ante again in round 3 as he began to really hunt the stoppage and was pressing Nieves back at will. With the challenger looking like he simply couldn't handle the power. Nieves had moments, but they were minor moral victories before he was forced to eat something much more significant.
Nieves heart shone and in round 4 he tried to back up Inoue, who obliged and fought a portion of the round on the back foot before coming forward and pumping his let jab into the face of the American who had clearly ran out of ideas. Sadly for Nieves he may have ran out of ideas but Inoue still had plenty, including the idea that he wanted a stoppage. He went about that with a new found intensity in round 5 and hammered the challenger with body shots until he went down. From then on Nieves was in full blown survival mode and a protective corner would have pulled him out after the round had finished. Instead he was sent out for another round, and it became embarrassing for the challenger. Instead of fighting he ran, literally running away from Inoue, who waved him in, raised his hands, taunted and dropped his hands completely. The result of Inoue's taunted seemed to suggest that Nieves didn't want to be there and mercifully his corner saved him at the end of the round.
With his US debut out of the way, and impressively at that, and another defense under his belt the future looks likely to see Inoue in super fights. He's had a US showcase, next has to be big bouts against big names to continue to build his incredible reputation. For Nieves it's likely he'll be back to domestic or continental level, but he'll never want to step in the ring with Inoue again after this one.
For US fans who may not have seen Inoue before, we suspect many will be looking to see him in the future, and at the end of the day, that was the aim of this bout. It was to get fans world wide interested in him, and potential show downs with the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Kal Yafai, Juan Francisco Estrada and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
When it comes to Japanese fighters at the moment there is no one who has excited the boxing world quite like WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (13-0, 11) [井上 尚弥],who was in action earlier today, and successfully recorded his 5th defenses of his world title. And he did so whilst hardly breaking sweat against the #2 ranked WBO challenger, American based Mexican Ricardo Rodriguez (16-4, 5), who had never previously been stopped.
The bout started with both men looking to control the range, but it was Inoeu's razor sharp jab and incredible footwork that controlled the round. The Mexican had his moments, but they were few and far between whilst Inoue's jab looked a consistent threat and he landed a wonderfully flurry late in the round, as well as an incredible left hand, that seemed to make Rodriguez realise that he was in there with an incredible talent.
The second round saw Rodriguez become more adventurous but again it was Inoue's footwork and jab that controlled the action, with Rodriguez falling short with a number of shots, and hitting the guard on the few times he was close enough to connect. The Mexican was showing his fighting spirit but had no answer to Inoue, who landed a huge straight late in the round and a brutal body shot as he began to move through the gears.
Rodriguez knew the task was getting harder and harder with Inoue starting to look increasingly more offensive. That offense was too much in round 3 with a left hook dropping the challenger. Rodriguez, to his credit, got to his feet, but it was the start of the end and another left hook dropped him for the counter, giving Inoue his 5th defense of the title.
With the win under his belt Inoue is now set to make his US debut, with a September date pencilled in, with HBO likely to televise the bout. That will see Inoue build on his reputation as one of the best fighters in the sport. For Rodriguez the loss will damage his career, and it's unlikely he will be getting another title fight any time soon.
The second of 7 world title bouts to end the in Japan was a WBO Super Flyweight title bout that saw defending champion Naoya Inoue (12-0, 10) [井上 尚弥] retain his title in a brilliantly fun fight against the aggressive and tough Kohei Kono (32-10-1, 13) [河野 公平] in a genuine exciting fight.
From the opening seconds it was clear that Kono wasn't in the ring to make up numbers and within a minute he was launching hooks and trying to put Inoue under pressure. Sadly for Kono that wasn't hugely effective in the first round as Inoue's speed and skills saw him land some nasty shots, and he seemed to shake Kono in the final moments of the round. Kono is known as the “Tough Boy” for a reason and proved that in round 2 when he continued to apply the pressure and steamed in again in an offensive manner. Again he was punished with Inoue landing some really brutal body shots that would have taken out most other foes. Kono on the some how saw out the round with going down but he had been badly hurt before the bell.
Kono refused to learn his lesson and continued to apply the same game plan in round 3, and again took some abuse to the body. It was however a better round for Kono who seemed to realise that his offense was causing Inoue to put limit what he was doing and despite taking some monstrous body shots he withstood most of the Inoue assault with no real issue. Kono continued to build on that success with an excellent round 4, a round in which he seemed to genuinely win with sheer determination and work rate, despite a vicious combination at the end from Inoue.
We saw Kono continue to attack in an ultra-aggressive manner through round 5 and once again he seemed to have Inoue hadcuffed at times while unloading flurry after flurry. Not every shot from the challenger got through but there was enough getting through to give him half a hope as Inoue seemed to slow down. Although Kono was having success Inoue didn't look too bothered by things, but was clearly under some pressure.
Sadly for Kono the ultra-aggressive tactic became his undoing in round 6 when he was caught by a frighteningly good counter shot from Inoue. The shot sent Kono down hard and it seemed unlikely Kono would beat the count, so much saw that Inoue rushed the corner and started celebrating. Amazingly Kono regained his feet, and the referee allowed him to go on. It was however a futile effort and a follow up from Inoue sent the challenger down for the second time, this time causing the referee to wave the bout off.
For Kono, who suffered his first stoppage loss here, this is probably the end. He was game and brave through the bout, giving Inoue one of his most interesting tests to date, but it was likely a case of “giving everything and going out on your shield to end your career” rather than anything else.
As for the champion his attention surely turns, once again, to unification bouts and other notable opponents with contests against the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Carlos Cuadras, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Kal Yafai, Johnriel Casimero and Jerwin Ancajas all really attractive propositions in the red hot Super Flyweight division. His stoppage here was a much needed statement after some less than flattering performances recent and it may well have put the division on alert once again, much as he did when he took out Omar Andres Narvaez in 2 rounds at the end of 2014.
Earlier today “The Monster” Naoya Inoue (11-0, 9) [井上 尚弥] returned to Zama for his first fight at home in 3 years and gave the local fans exactly what they wanted as he scored a 10th round win over gutsy Thai Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (38-8-1, 18) [เพชรบางบอน ก่อเกียรติยิม]
The Japanese fighter showed a bit of everything in his arsenal for the fans who saw him box, fight, brawl and eventually finish his man.
The fight started rather slowly with both men looking to establish their jabs though quickly heated up with Inoue bringing in his combinations, tagging the body hard and even hurting the Thai with a right hand near the end of the right. Petchbarngborn, to his credit, looked calm and composed for the most part but it was clear that Inoue had gears to go through.
Inoue started to go through some of those gears at times in round 2 as he showed both his boxing ability, jabbing and moving and keeping Petchbarngborn from setting himself at all, and his fighting ability taking the action to the Thai and unloading some frightening combinations. It was clear the Japanese youngster had no intention of seeking an early finish and was instead using the early rounds to try things out and box well within himself.
As we went through round 3 it seemed Inoue was getting more and more satisfied with his work and he began to really put on a showcase with some gorgeous punch picking to both head an body and sublime movement that left Petchbarngborn chasing shadows. The following round saw Inoue become a pure boxer moving and refusing to throw almost any right hands, depending almost entirely on the jab, as if it was a jab-only sparring session.
Having become comfortable with his jab Inoue allowed Petchbarngborn to bring the fight too him and the two spent much of round 5 trading shots on the inside, with the Thai having some success, including several low ones that left Inoue showing his inexperience and dropping his hands. The Thai got several free shots on Inoue, to little effect, but was later punished by the Japanese youngster who really took it to the Thai with nasty body shots later in the round.
With Petchbarngborn's confidence growing he started to take the fight to Inoue again in round 6 and seem to catch the Japanese fighter behind the head at one point. From then on however Inoue seemed to begin to take things seriously and started to use the Thai for target practice with Petchbarngborn looking weary walking to his corner to end the round. It was as if he'd tried all his tricks and they'd had success, but he'd been given a beating for trying them.
Having allowed Petchbarngborn moments in rounds 7 and 8 Inoue got on his big in round 9 and mentally tortured the Thai with his movement and jab. It was mental torture for the challenger, who didn't take much a physical battering but struggled to land anything the entire round whilst being fed a steady diet of jabs.
Having sharpened his tools through the first 9 rounds Inoue began to show what he was truly capable of in round 10 letting a 2 fisted attack go that hurt the Thai. With his man hurt Inoue went on the all out offensive with Petchbarngborn firing back whilst on the retreat. Sadly for the challenger he was unable to stop the onslaught, despite showing unreal toughness, and eventually went down. He had taken a hiding in the round and yet still tried to get to his feet, but was counted out in the act of rising.
The performance, for fans watching, wasn't the most impressive from Inoue however it looked like a controlled performance for the most part. Almost as if he was focusing on particular things rather than being his most destructive. It was a performance that seemed more like a spar at times. But when he went to close the show he did close it.
For Petchbarngborn his performance was really credible. He showed his toughness and, looking at this performance, he may well have given Paul Butler fits had Butler not failed to make weight. He had his moments against Inoue but never looked like he was going to make much of a dent on the Monster, other than the low blows he landed relative early on.
After the fight Inoue's right hand did appear to have been damaged as his team cut the wraps off, but it wasn't massively bad, like it has been in the past when it's been swollen, and it should be fine going forward. It will however be at the back of his mind in the coming days as he travels to the US to watch next weekend's “Super Fight” between Roman Gonzalez and Carlos Cuadras.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Just moments ago Japanese fans, and those international fans with streams for Fuji TV, saw Japanese wunderkind Naoya Inoue (10-0, 8) [井上 尚弥] make the second defense of his WBO Super Flyweight title as he over-came tough mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-3-5, 8) and a serious injury.
In the opening seconds Inoue made his intent known, landing a huge shot up top that seemed to wobble Carmona, who instantly backed up looking and looked to become the counter puncher for the round. It worked in spells, but those spells were few and far between Inoue consistently finding a home for power shots, one of which stunned Carmona just before the bell.
The second round was a more controlled effort from Inoue who picked his shots better than he had in the opening and applied more intelligent pressure looking for holes in Carmona's tight defense. Given how tight Carmona's defense was and how unwilling he was to let his hands go when Inoue was coming forward it seemed that Inoue looked to change tactic in round 3 when he began to back up and almost allow Carmona to let his hands go a little. That didn't last long however as Inoue's aggressive instincts kicked in half way through the round and he just easily walked Carmona backwards. Carmona did however end the round with some aggression and it seemed almost like he had found a footing in the bout.
Having had some success in round 3 Carmona began to fight more aggressively in round 4. The higher level of aggression from Carmona seemed to be want Inoue was wanting and half way through round 4 the Monster found some solid shots through the guard of Carmona. Following those solid shots Carmona went back on to defense and spent almost a minute looking to avoid Inoue. Carmona did try and show some offense late but by then it was too little too late.
Round 5 was another where Carmona was willingly backing up with only moments of offense. Those moments were probably foolish as they ended up really annoying Inoue who went into “seek and destroy” mode battering Carmona around the ring for almost a minute as the Monster smelled blood. To his credit Carmona saw out the round without being dropped but it was a nightmare round for the challenger.
After having shown some vicious intent in round 5 Inoue eased off during the early stages of round 6, but still managed to land the most eye catching shots of the round. Carmona, at one point, got Inoue on the ropes but was given a beating following it and appeared to be a fighter living on grit and determination alone.
At the end of round 6 it seemed that Inoue had hurt his right hand and through round 7 he fought very cautiously, using only his lead hand on a consistent basis, and relying on the experience of his fight with Yuki Sano. Even one handed Inoue seemed to out box Carmona, though was much less explosive than he had been in rounds 5 and 6.
The boxing skills of Inoue were on show again in round 8 as he again fought 1 handed. Carmona had much more success, seemingly realising he was up against a 1-handed fighter. Although Carmona had the hand advantage he lacked the skills and speed to cope with Inoue who found a home for his jab and hook, and did, albeit rarely, unload with the right hand.
By round 9 the pace and excitement of the bout had died. Inoue was too good for Carmona, even with one hand, for the Mexican to try to be too adventurous whilst Inoue was showing caution and when he did, sparingly, use the right hand it was aimed at the body of Carmona.
In round 10 it seemed like Inoue was willing to risk his right hand again and and unloaded a 2-fisted assault on Carmona after hurting the Mexican. Carmona, to his genuine credit, saw out the storm once again.
Round 11 was another quieter round, with Inoue happy to win the round boxing and not take any real risks. In the final round however Inoue began to seek a stoppage again and went after Carmona as the crowd suddenly woke up, dropping the Mexican with about 30 seconds left. Inoue could smell the unlikely stoppage and went off unloading on the Mexican who just did enough to see out the bell, and the 12 rounds.
The 10-8 in round 12 helped secure a wide win for Inoue with scores of 118-109, 118-109 and a bizarrely close 116-111. It also gave him his first complete 12 round bout.
Although Inoue wasn't his most impressive here, or even close to his most destructive, he showed poise and genuine calmness despite the hand injury. He showed that he can cope when he's having to go through real adversity and that he has the skills to cope fighting one handed against a world ranked opponent, something he had done at the Japanese level against Yuki Sano. Sadly however the injury, a recurring injury, does leave us with serious questions about how long Inoue will be out of the ring, and how the hand will hold up in the future. Last time he injured it he was out for a year and to see him waste another year of his career on recovering would be a real shame. Given how he fought in the final round however it could be that the injury isn't as serious as it had been in the past.
Last December we saw Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8) destroy Omar Andres Narvaez in 2 rounds to stamp his claim as the 2014 Fight of the Year, sadly however that win saw him damage his right hand and spend almost a year out of the ring. That year seems to have seen Inoue build up some pent up frustration that came out today when he destroyed mandatory challenger Warlito Parrenas (24-7-1, 21) in less than a round and a half.
The opening round was a relatively dull one. Parrenas tried to apply intelligent pressure behind a high guard and came forward but seemed very reluctant to let hi hands go. Inoue picked his spots to let shots go, but mostly seemed to hit the guard of Parrenas, though one or two did get through. It had the look of a frustrating night for both The Monster and the fans.
In round two however Inoue had a quick break through and quickly staggered Parrenas with a right hand. Only moments later Parrenas was down, courtesy of another right hand. The Filipino challenger was hurt on the canvas but his fighters instinct saw him get up. Inoue lay in wait, almost licking his lips knowing that the end was imminent. As soon as Parrenas was ready to continue Inoue went on the hunt and only moments later he scored the second knockdown, this time the referee did the merciful thing and stopped the action, putting Parrenas out of his misery.
For Inoue, who has now made the first defense of his title, we're expecting to see a swift return to the ring, and suspicion is that Hideyuki Ohashi will be in talks, possibly later this week, with American TV about getting The Monster Stateside for a bout in Spring.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
In professional boxing it can be very easy to get lost in hype. The American and British boxing media want to hype everyone that is shown on their airwaves. Sadly however sometimes the best aren't shown on "Western TV", the best example of that is Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7) who lived up to his moniker of "Monster" earlier today when he destroyed Argentinian stalwart Omar Andres Narvaez (43-2-2, 23) in the most explosive, destructive and violent performance of his career and claimed the WBO Super Flyweight title, becoming the fastest man in history to become a 2-weight world champion. In fact so perfect was this performance that Inoue may actually be the best fighter on the planet, it might be that Inoue is the only man we would favour over Roman Gonzalez in the lower weights, and more worryingly he's only getting better.
The youngster from Kanagawa started fast. And we mean fast landing big shots almost from the opening seconds, shots that quickly sent Narvaez down. In fact Inoue sent Narvaez down inside a minute, Nonito Donaire couldn't manage it in 12 rounds. Inoue wasn't happy with just the one knockdown however and went looking for a stoppage in same round. Soon afterwards Narvaez was down a second time and Inoue went on the prowl smelling bleed. His prey knew what was coming however and Narvaez went into survival mode, hoping to see off the incoming storm.
Narvaez managed to see out the opening round but then came the second round and Inoue again smelled victory. He went on the offensive quickly and although he was forced to eat a powerful straight it seemed to just bounce off him. Narvaez had nothing and was again sent to the canvas for the third knockdown of the fight. From then on it was a matter of time, time that was cut short as Inoue found the body of Narvaez and hammered away, repeatedly sinking in shots to the gut until Narvaez went down for a fourth time! This time he stayed down, there was no point in attempting to come back.
After the bout the Inoue clan, and the Ohashi gym members, celebrated with Inoue who hasn't just stamped his name in the history books but has stamped his name on the "Fighter of the Year" and "Performance of the Year" awards. For those publications that have already down your rewards, we hope you feel silly given how amazing Inoue looked here.
We suspect Inoue will be back in action in early 2015, at the end of the fight he hardly looked touched, not a mark on his face.
Sometimes action speak louder than words, and this performance speaks a million words.
For those who missed it, the fight can be seen in full here.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.