The final world title bout of the 2010's saw Japan's Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] close things out for the year as he has done numerous times during the decade. Taking home a win, and successfully defending his WBO Super Flyweight champion against mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (11-1-0-1, 5) from Puerto Rico.
The bout started well for Cintron, who seemed to use his natural attributes well, making the most of his reach and his speed. He was however consistently under pressure from Ioka, who struggled to get close early on, but began to find his range in round 3. When that happened the bout began to turn from "interesting" to exciting".
With Ioka cutting the distance better from round 3 he forces Cintron to fight his fight, whilst landing some brutal body shots. The game plan from Ioka was simple. Take away the legs of the Cintron, make him hold his ground and go to work. It was a good gameplan, but one that only partially worked. To his credit Cintron's legs never really stopped moving, despite being fed a fairly consistent stream of vicious, hard body shots, especially in the middle rounds.
Cintron's heart and unwillingness to wilt helped him have moments, but his early lead had been destroyed by the body blows and his head shots seemed to do little more than annoy Ioka who continued to walk forward, pressing, looking to sneak more rib buster on to the challenger.
By round 8 it seemed that Cintron would eventually capitulate. He seemed out of energy, out of ideas and out of hope, but instead hit bit down, getting through a some torrid moments in rounds 9 and 10 before actually having some of his best success in the final few rounds. He seemed to refind his ambition, and let his hands go more, doing what had worked for him early on. He was getting his shots off and getting out of dodge, creating space, boxing and moving. It may have been that Ioka felt he had the bout in the bag, or it may have been that Ioka was tired, but Cintron finished the bout well. By then though it really was too little too late.
After 12 rounds the decision seemed an easy one, with only the specific scored in doubt. It seemed impossible to do the mental arithmetic to get to a Cintron win, despite his gutsy and brave performance, and the judges agreed scoring it 116-112, twice, to Ioka and 115-113 to Ioka.
(Photo Credit - A. McGovern)
Earlier today we saw a new WBO Super Flyweight world champion champion being crowned, as Japanese star Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔] put together one of his best performances to date, and stopped Filipino foe Aston Palicte (25-3-1, 21) in 10 rounds. The win saw Ioka becoming the first Japanese man to become a 4-weight champion, and only the second Japanese fighter to win world titles over 4 weights following Naoko Fujioka.
The two men had both looked great during their walk ins. Palicte looked calm but confident whilst Ioka, flanked by Japanese hip-hop artist AK69, looked determined and as if he was arriving for his destiny.
From the opening moments there was two things that were clear. One was a purely physical thing, Palicte dwarfed Ioka. They looked a division, if not two, apart. The other was that Ioka was much quicker, sharper and had the speed edge in terms of hand speed, footspeed and overall movement. It seemed like the bout could come down to who could make the most of their advantages.
It quickly became apart that it was Ioka's speed advantage that was the big difference, with Ioka often avoiding the big, booming power shots of Palicte, whilst managing to find a home for his own shots, especially his straight right hand up top and his body shots.
As the rounds went on it seemed more and more like Ioka's speed was the telling factor, with Palicte often being countered, regularly with lovely left hooks that Ioka was finding from round 3 on wards. Palicte's issues were worsened by the effective body work from Ioka, who has quickly become a forgotten man in the conversation of best body puncher in the sport, and in round 4 Ioka really showed off what he could do with shots to head and body.
Other than in round 4 Palicte generally looked like he was in the rounds, but losing them, and falling behind on the score cards but doing enough to be in them with an odd combination and some solid jabs. It seemed like something he and his team knew was happening when they sent him out for round 7, a round that really was something special.
Palicte came out for the seventh with bad intentions, pressing Ioka in a way he hadn't done in the first 6 rounds. He was there looking to take Ioka out, and unlike the earlier rounds where he was typically trying to land the odd combinations, he went full throttle. The increase in output from the Filipino seemed to shock Ioka, who seemed to wobble at one point, but Ioka would later turn the round on it's head and hurt Palicte, with body shots being a key late in the round. In many ways the round was Palicte's last hoorah, and form then on he never really seemed to have any more sustained success with Ioka's technical ability and combinations becoming a clearer focal point.
Going into round 10 it looked like Palicte's toughness, durability and chin might see him to the distance but Ioka had other idea's after he hurt the Filipino with a big right hand. Ioka waded in, looking to close the show, eventually forcing the referee to step in. Palicte, and his team, weren't happy at the stoppage, and you could argue it was a slightly early stoppage, but the Filipino did take 6 or 7 clean head shots and left the referee in the position where he could step in, especially given the damage Palicte had taken in the earlier rounds.
The question as to what is next for Ioka will be an interesting one, though there are big potential bouts with fellow Japanese fighters Akira Yaegashi and Kosei Tanaka, both of whom have mentioned becoming 4 weight champions themselves. Of those two bouts a showdown with Tanaka would appear more likely, given that both are TBS affiliated fighters.
The final world title bout of 2018 saw a new WBO Super Flyweight world champion being crowned as Filipino Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23) shocked the gamblers and took a split decision win over Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13) [井岡一翔] in a brilliant technical match up between two fantastic fighters who fought evenly through out a captivating contest. Not only was it a captivating contest, but it was one fought at such a high skill level that both men showed off technical mastery like so few bouts we've seen this year.
Nietes took the early lead. He was countering well and making the most of the opportunities Ioka was giving him by fighting on the inside. It was brilliant work from Nietes to land the sharper, cleaner, more accurate shots. The early success of Nietes forced Ioka on to the outside.
Boxing at range Ioka had a lot of success in the middle rounds, with Nietes slowing down, showing his age and struggling to catch up with Ioka, who seemed to run through the middle rounds with some ease to take the lead.
Ioka's success saw the bout tighten up, a lot, and going into the final rounds it seemed there was everything to play for. The success wasn't dominant, but was clear and it was obvious that fighting at range Ioka could control things, and if he was able to keep up the out put and the movement he should have been able to win.
In the final rounds however Nietes seemed to dig deep, find that extra bit of energy and close the distance. Ioka on the other hand slowed, began to stand his ground more and slow his movement. That allowed Nietes back into the fight, a fight that had seemed to be Ioka's after his strong middle portion of the fight.
With the final 2 rounds being ultra close, pick em rounds if left possibles score of the bout all over the place, potentially from 116-112 either way.
With the bout going the 12 rounds we went to the score cards and unsurprisingly they were split. Each man taking a 116-112 score card in their favour, though the bout was decided by a bizarre 118-110 card for Nietes, a score that would assume the judge had given Nietes every benefit imaginable.
With the 2 judges having Nietes as the winner he now becomes the third Filipino to become a 4 weight champion, the 3rd man to win world titles in each of the 4 lowest weight classes and a sure fire hall of famer. For Ioka there is strong argument to have a rematch, of if Nietes retires a chance at the title when it becomes vacant again.
For us fans this was the technical back and forth we had all anticipated. It wasn't a dramatic FOTY candidate but was a sensational bout, and the perfect way to close out the new year, even if one of the judges was watching something the rest of us wasn't.
Earlier this year we saw the first All-Filipino world title fight in over 90 years, as Jerwin Ancajas defended the IBF Super Flyweight title against Jonas Sultan. On paper that looked a good bout, but ended up never catching a light and being pretty forgettable. Today we had the second all-Filipino world title fight of the year, as Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23) and Aston Palicte (24-2-1, 20) traded blows for the WBO Super Flyweight title.
For Nietes the bout saw him looking to become the third 4 weight world champion from the Philippines, following Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire, and the third man to win world titles in the sport's 4 lowest weight classes. For Palicte it was a chance to emerge from the shadows of Filipino boxing to become a world champion.
The bout was competitive through out. It matched the incredible skills and boxing IQ of Nietes against the imposing physical size of Palicte. From the off both men had moments, and it was a hard one to score either way with Nietes landing the more consistently offensive, but taking the heavier leather, and being pushed on to the back foot through out the fight. It was also the combinations from Palicte, which rarely landed cleanly, that really caught the eye with numerous shots being thrown with so much power that Nietes found his own gloves smashing into his face.
Nietes' ring craft was amazing. At the age of 36 he he was able to set traps on a regular basis, often luring Palicte into clean right hands, and countering brilliantly. He was however unable to get Palicte's respect and the younger man, a natural Super Flyweight, took shots cleanly and seemed to smile, whilst taking them. It was possibly the regular smirk of Palicte that made Nietes' clean shorts seem unthreatening compared to the glancing blows of his own.
There was very few clean cut bouts through the entire fight. It was often a case of picking a winner of a very close round. One of the few clear cut rounds was round 4, a round that Nietes seemed to take off. On the other hand he clearly won round 5, as he picked up the pace and found a home for his right hand, which landed frequently through a brilliant stanza for the veteran. Another clear round was the final one, which saw Nietes landing several of his most eye catching shots. For the most part however there was very, very, little to pick between the two fighters, and a strong case could be made either way.
The close nature of the rounds seemed to give the feeling that no score was really going to be wrong. Despite the commentary playing a strong pro-Nietes narrative through out, cheer leading the skills of Nietes and giving very little credit to Palicte and his work. That close nature of each round showed on the scorecards which were 116-112, in favour of Palicte, 118-110, for Nietes, and 114-114, giving us a split draw.
The HBO team try to play off that the bout was a robbery, quote the always questionable Compubox as part of their narrative. The reality however is that there was very, very little to split them overall. On a round by round basis, neither man did enough to really assert their self. 118-110 and 116-112, either way, were wide, but a strong case could be argued for either of those cards. In the end however the draw seemed the fairest result and the most accurate.
As a result of the draw he WBO title does remain vacant. A rematch between the two is a real possibility, as would be a bout between either man and the returning Kazuto Ioka, who won on the same card against McWilliams Arroyo who had been the WBO #3 ranked fighter behind Nietes ans Palicte.
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.
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.