‘Monster’ Inoue: the unbeaten Japanese boxer with dynamite in his fists

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TOKYO, Japan, December 12Naoya Inoue’s nickname is “Monster” and for good reason – he’s considered one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters and has won all of his 21 fights, 18 by knockout.

The reigning WBA and IBF bantamweight world champion made his Las Vegas debut last year with a devastating knockout victory and return bouts in Japan for the first time in two years on Tuesday.

Thailand’s Aran Dipaen is expected to pose little problem in a sumo hall in Tokyo for fierce Inoue, 28, who aims to unify the four main bantamweight belts next year.

“I want to win in a way that completely exceeds expectations,” Inoue said ahead of the fight with IBF sixth challenger Dipaen, who is 12-2 with 11 knockouts.

“I don’t want him to touch me. I don’t even want to let him graze on me.

Inoue, who comes from a boxing family, broke onto the scene as an amateur and has worked his way through his opponents since turning pro in 2012.

Although he’s a star in Japan, his limited exposure in the United States means he’s still an enigma overseas.

After knocking out Australian Jason Moloney in the seventh round of his eye-catching Las Vegas debut in October 2020, he returned in June this year to send Michael Dasmarinas of the Philippines in three rounds, again by knockout.

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– ‘Generational talent’ –

Veteran American promoter Bob Arum – who signed Inoue to his Top Rank stable to fight in the United States – had no doubts that the Japanese fighter was ready to become a global celebrity.

Naoya Inoue’s brutal clash with Nonito Donaire (right) in 2019 was voted fight of the year by American boxing writers © AFP / Kazuhiro NOGI

“Naoya Inoue is a generational talent, the kind of fighter who returns once a decade,” said Arum – who has worked with greats from Muhammad Ali to Manny Pacquiao in a legendary career spanning a half-century. century.

“He’ll be a major star in the United States in no time. You’re watching an all-time great coming into the prime of what will be a historic career. ”

Inoue started boxing at an early age.

His father Shingo is a former amateur while his younger brother Takuma is a professional colleague with a 15-1 win-loss record and held the interim WBC bantamweight title.

Naoya Inoue started his career at lightweight flyweight, only winning the WBC crown in his sixth professional fight.

He left the title to challenge WBO Argentinian superfly champion Omar Narvaez, and knocked him out in the second round.

Inoue switched to bantamweight and won the WBA belt in his first title fight, before winning the World Boxing Super Series in November 2019.

His epic final victory over veteran Filipino four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire in a brutal contest was voted Fight of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

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It was the first time that Inoue had been seriously tested in his professional career.

He suffered a fractured right orbit and double vision early in the bout before battling Donaire on the ground in round 11 and sealing a unanimous points victory.

– Quiet perfectionist –

Dipaen is unlikely to give him a similar training in Tokyo, but bigger challenges lie ahead as Inoue contemplates a fight against another Filipino, WBO champion John Riel Casimero, next year.

Inoue is a perfectionist who regularly declares himself dissatisfied with his performance, even after having wowed his opponents.

Naoya Inoue celebrates his epic World Super Series bantamweight final victory over Filipino tall Nonito Donaire in 2019 in Saitama. But there is still an enigma outside of Japan © AFP / File / Kazuhiro NOGI

He might be a “monster” in the ring, but Inoue is calm and gentle away from boxing. He married his childhood sweetheart and has three children.

Inoue’s ambition is to advance in the weight class once he finishes steaming in the bantamweight division.

Inoue is only focusing on a successful defense of his WBA and IBF belts on Tuesday.

“There are a lot of expectations on me for this fight, but if I’m caught in the atmosphere, where everyone wants me to knock him out early, I won’t be able to box,” he told local media. the Dipaen competition.

Either way, if he wins as planned, Inoue will continue to do it his way.

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“I want to approach every game the same, regardless of my opponent,” he said. “You have to keep a cool head. ”


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