Inoue: “Butler Is Capable But Not As Big Of A Threat As Donaire”

Naoya Inoue Planning to Measure Butler's Game Plan on Fight Night

Naoya Inoue planning for his fight with Paul Butler
Naoya Inoue (L), Paul Butler (Credit: Probellum)

Naoya Inoue Preparing for Whatever Paul Butler Brings to the Table

Three-belt champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs) is attempting to become the first fighter in the four-belt championship era to win the undisputed bantamweight championship. On December 13, the unified champion will face WBO champ Paul Butler (34-2, 15 KOs) in his home nation of Japan.

Last time out, the unified champ stopped then-WBC champ Nonito Donaire in two rounds in June 2022. They had previously fought in November 2019 in the finals of the WBSS bantamweight tournament. On that night, Donaire gave Inoue the fight of his life.

In Butler, Inoue will face someone who fights drastically different from his previous opponent. The WBO champ likes to move and is more conservative in his style. During an interview with Ring Magazine, Inoue was asked how he thinks the upcoming fight with Butler will play out.


(translated from Japanese) “It depends on how Butler will come out. If he’s trying not to get knocked out, I’ll need a way to deal with it. I read a story that Donaire is advising him to move around, use his jab, utilize his speed, and lateral movement. If Butler does that, I think it will be a long battle.

A lot of people think I’m a quick KO puncher, always knocking opponents out in the early rounds, but I’m actually not a hyper-aggressive fighter, so I’m going to have to figure out how Butler will come out and how we’ll engage.”

It would behoove Butler to make this a drawn-out affair. To sit in the pocket and engage in any manner would be foolish. He doesn’t have the firepower to stand and trade. A calculated, safety-first approach would be wise to do against the explosive Japanese superstar.


Many pundits and fans make Inoue a significant favorite. But “Monster” refuses to get the big head. In October 2021, he set a goal of becoming an undisputed champ and is hell-bent on achieving that goal.

“Butler might not be as big of a threat as Donaire, especially power-wise, to be completely honest. But I do think he’s a capable fighter, and this is a full unification fight at 118 pounds, so my motivation is still very high.”

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for