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)
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