Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw Takuma Inoue (15-1, 3) [井上拓真] become a 3-weight OPBF champion, as he claimed the OPBF Super Bantamweight title and scored one of the best wins of his career.
The talented Inoue, the younger brother the Monster Naoya Inoue, was moving up in weight to take on on former Super Bantamweight title challenger Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾], and made it look surprisingly easy against a very talented, sharp shooting southpaw.
From the off Inoue looked the smaller, but sharper fighter, and managed to avoid Wake's heavy straight left hand whilst getting in and out and getting his own shots off. It was tense to begin with, with neither landing anything too meaningful, but it was as if Inoue was that bit sharper, and his youth was showing against the 34 year old Wake. The first real punch of world quality landed in round 4, and it was a hard right hand from Inoue, which dropped Wake on to the seat of his pants. Wake got to his feet, and Inoue tried to close the show, though Wake saw out the storm and got Inoue's respect, whilst seeing out the round.
Following the knockdown Inoue seemed to grow in confidence whilst Wake struggled to get going. The body shots from Inoue were eye catching, and he managed to avoid much of the return fire, as Wake looked like a man who just second best. Inoue was too smart, defensively and offensively, for Wake who tried to get things off, but just never had the success he was expecting, or that he had had against fighters earlier in his career. It was often like Inoue was one, if not two steps ahead of him.
After 12 rounds there was no doubting the winner, with Inoue getting his hand raised, and all 3 judges scoring the bout 117-110 in his favour, with Wake having some success late in the bout as Inoue cruised to the final bell, though still landed some good counter hooks. Interestingly there wasn't a single round given to Wake by all 3 judges.
Following the bout Inoue explained that he was convinced he'd win, and didn't feel different fighting at 122lbs to how he had in other weight classes. His father and trainer, Shingo, spoke highly of his son, but it was Hideyuki Ohashi who was the most glowing, giving him a "perfect score of 100" for the performance, and how he shut down Wake.
Wake was also complimentary of Inoue, explaining that Inoue's defense was good and that it was hard to get him where he wanted. Aged 34 it's hard to see where Wake goes next, though for Inoue there is talk about him being moved towards a second world title shot in 2022.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will be able to see an excellent OPBF Super Bantamweight title bout, as Takuma Inoue (14-1, 3) [井上拓真] takes on Shingo Wake (27-6-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾], in a battle between two men looking to secure a second world title fight Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men made weight with ease.
On the scale Inoue was bang on the limit, but looked like a man who could have easily made Bantamweight had he needed to. Him making weight shouldn't be any sort of a surprise however given he has fought at lower weights, and was last seen fighting at Bantamweight back in January, when he beat Keita Kurihara to claim the OPBF Bantamweight title. This will be his first bout at 122lbs, and if he wins he will be in the very small group of fighters to have won OPBF titles in 3 different weight classes.
At the weigh in Inoue came in on the limit, but really didn't look like a fully fledged Super Bantamweight. In fact he was dwarfed by Wake, who was 5 or 6 inches taller than him. Interestingly he has tried to counter the southpaw stance of Wake, by sparring with Kazuki Nakajima, though Nakajima is several inches shorter than Wake himself.
Notably Wake, despite being the much taller man, was also the lighter man coming in at around 121.25lbs. He looked like he was at his natural weight, but wasn't draining down to make weight, instead this is pretty the weight he's best suited to, and the one he has fought at throughout his career.
After the weigh in Wake revealed he was excited to be back in the ring and also mentioned that he had suffered from Covid19 a few months ago, limiting his sparring for this bout. Despite that he explained he was in perfect condition and knows that if he can beat Inoue he could get a world title fight next time out.
Related - Takuma Inoue and Shingo Wake clash for OPBF honours!
Earlier today the Ohashi Gym announced that tey would be holding a show in November, set for November 11th at Korakuen Hall, and revealed a genuinely fantastic main event bout for the show pitting two former world title challengers against each other in a truly compelling match up!
The match up in question will see former WBC Bantamweight title challenger Takuma Inoue (14-1, 3) [井上拓真] dip his toes at the Super Bantamweight limit as he takes on former IBF Super Bantamweight world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-6-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾], with the two men battling for the WBO Asia Pacific title at 122lbs.
For Inoue this will be his first bout at 122lbs and he'll know that a win against the talented, slippery, and sharp shooting Wake would help him move towards a world title fight in his new weight. He will however be totally dependent on his skills and boxing brain, and he's never looked like a power puncher at 118lbs and is likely to be even more feather fisted 4lbs north.
As for Wake this will be a great chance for him to re-establish himself as a contender following a 2019 loss to Jhunriel Ramonal, in which he was knocked out cold. He has scored a single win since that bout, stopping Shohei Kawashima, but this will be a much more significant test than that bout.
Whilst neither man has ever won a world title this is still a brilliant match up and one we are genuinely looking forward to, even if it is aroudn 4 months away! The lengthy wait for the bout should give both men time to get into perfect condition and we are expecting a very, very good bout when there two technically well schooled fighters face off for a major regional title.
This past weekend we saw unified Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18) [井上 尚弥] retain his WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight titles as he stopped IBF mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20) in 3 rounds, thanks in part to some brutal body shots. Today he and his team, including his father Shingo, brother Takuma and promoter Hideyuki Ohashi, arrived back in Japan.
When they arrived back in Japan Ohashi revealed that their was an announcement on on the plane, explaining that Inoue himself was aboard, with the announcement praising him for his performance at the weekend.
Inoue himself gave comments to the media, explaining "I was able to return to Japan safely after the second bout in Las Vegas. The support of the fans who watched the game on TV from Japan helped me to win with the content I was satisfied with. I was able to do it. Thank you very much.
I couldn't sleep much on the return flight, but I was able to spend a comfortable time. In the future, I plan to rest my body during the two-week quarantine period and move my body after the period.
The immediate goal is to unify the four bantamweight groups. In the future, I would like to set the standard for Donaire and Casimero and devote myself so that anyone can show Naoya Inoue's boxing"
The men will now all have to go through a 2 week isolation period, as is expected of those entering Japan at the moment. It seems the "Monster" plans to take those 2 weeks to rest his body, which may not be a bad idea, before resuming training after the isolation period.
(Image credit - Ohashi Gym)
Around a week ago Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥] arrived in the US ahead of his upcoming defense of the IBF and WBA "super" Bantamweight world titles against Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20). At the time he was accompanied by father and trainer Shingo Inoue, his brother Takuma Inoue [井上拓真] and his cousin Koki Inoue [浩樹井上].
Yesterday he was joined by the rest of his team, including promoter Hideyuki Ohashi, who will be in attendance for the fight cheering on his charge.
The promoter has joined the Inoue clan for the fight and the group have now moved into the bubble at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!