Inoue Knocks Out Tapales; Plans To Campaign At 122lbs

Naoya Inoue Wants To Defend The Undisputed Crown At 122

Naoya Inoue Becomes A Two-Divisional Undisputed Champion
Naoya Inoue Becomes A Two-Divisional Undisputed Champion

Naoya Inoue Shatters Marlon Tapales to Win Undisputed Crown!


In front of a packed crowd at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan unified super bantamweight champions Naoya “Monster” Inoue and Marlon “Nightmare” Tapales went to battle for undisputed honors at 122 pounds.

Ranked second in the 3kingsboxing.com Top Ten Fighter rankings, Inoue has emerged as one of the sport’s genuine stars. A four-division world champion and arguably boxing’s most explosive fighter, his previous outing was a dominating eighth-round stoppage over Stephen Fulton in July 2023.

He faced Tapales, a tough and rugged veteran. A former WBO champion at 118 pounds, Tapales became a unified champion when he scored a split-decision victory over Murodjon “MJ” Akhmadaliev in April 2023.

FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE

After the first couple of rounds of both men looking to find the range, the action started to heat up. Late in round four, a left hook from Inoue bucked Tapales and put him down on one knee with less than ten seconds left in the round. 

After a fifth round where both fighters went to war, Tapales switched his tactics in the middle rounds. Instead of standing and trading, he adopted a Floyd Mayweather-like shoulder-roll boxing strategy and had his moments landing with right uppercuts and punching to the body. He was able to make Inoue miss. 

But one of the most underrated aspects of Inoue’s game is his boxing IQ. He stayed patient and calculated. It was only a matter of time before the vaunted power of the Monster would resurface. A minute into round ten, a right hand from Inoue discombobulated and put Tapales down on all fours. Badly hurt and shaking out the cobwebs, he didn’t beat the count of the referee. 

With the win, Inoue earned the undisputed super bantamweight crown.  After the fight, he acknowledged that it was one of the more challenging fights of his career. The now-undisputed champion at 122 pounds said he plans to campaign in the junior featherweight for the foreseeable future and plans to return to the ring in May 2024. 

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About Mike W.1990 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.