After more than 2 years of waiting Japanese fans had the chance to welcome local megastar Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19) [井上 尚弥] back to a Japanese ring earlier today, in what was his first bout at home since beating Nonito Donaire in the WBSS Bantamweight final, in November 2019. Not only did they say the Monster in action however, but they also got a bit of a show, as Inoue retained his WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight world titles and stopped the gutsy, but outclassed, Thai challenger Aran Dipaen (12-3, 11) [แก่นนคร ศักดิ์กรีรินทร์] at the Kokugikan in Tokyo.
The bout, regarded as a massive mismatch going in, served as a home coming for Inoue, and also served as the final world title bout to be held in Japan this year, with Dipaen getting in to the country before Japan close it's borders at the end of November. And in many ways it served it's task, with Dipaen serving as the perfect dance partner.
From the off Inoue was in control. He was too sharp, too fast, too accurate, too crisp and far, far too good. However Dipaen, unlike many Inoue foes, wasn't fearful of the champion and was instead there to change his life, to fight for the upset, and to try and score what would have been one of the biggest shocks of the year. Sadly for Dipaen his desire didn't match his ability, and he struggled, time and time again, to land anything clean, or to avoid the excellent left jab of Inoue's which landed thunderously, like a straight right hand.
Dipaen was out classed, coming off second best every minute of every round. He was however not there to make up the numbers and go away quietly. Instead he played the class clown, the joker, the entertainer, and goaded Inoue numerous times. Raising his hands and telling to bring it, whilst looking to get in his own hard shots. He was game, he was tough, and that was really all he had going for him. And unfortunately, toughness alone will never be enough against someone like Inoue, who began to target the body extensively, and really began hunting his man in round 6. Dipaen's toughness was keeping him upright, but Inoue was beginning to break him mentally and physically.
In round 8 the inevitable happened, as Dipaen was finally dropped and although he got back to his feet, he was done as Inoue went in for the finish and forced the referee to stop the action.
Following the bout Inoue and promoter Hideyuki Ohashi held a press conference. There they again mentioned that they were hoping to face either John Riel Casimero or Nonito Donaire in a 3 title unification bout. It seems however if those bouts can't be made he'll speed up the move to Super Bantamweight, rather than wasting time chasing bouts that won't happen. Inoue saying "I've been sticking to the Bantamweight class with an emphasis on unifying the four classes, but if it doesn't go smoothly, I'm thinking of the super bantamweight class." Thankfully the Super Bantamweight division is one of the best in the sport right now, even if it is a division lacking an A* star name, but Inoue moving there would add that huge name, to a division that has been over-delivering over the last few years.
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.