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.
World Title Results
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