Naoya Inoue picks up the IBF bantamweight title while advancing to the WBSS final!
The WBSS Bantamweight semi-final between WBA champion Naoya Inoue and IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez was anticipated to be one of the more intriguing bouts of 2019.
However, it was Inoue who once again lived up to his nickname of “Monster” as he annihilated the IBF champion in two rounds! He is now the WBA regular and IBF champion heading into the WBSS finals to face WBA super champion Nonito Donaire.
In the first round, Rodriguez (19-1, 12 KO’s) came out as the aggressor behind the jab, forcing Inoue (18-0, 16 KO’s) to fight on the back foot. However, the Japanese phenom responded well by doing a nice job of countering with right hands and left hooks.
The fight took a similar pattern at the start of the second, but that’s when the vaunted power of the Japanese superstar surfaced. Twenty-one seconds into the round, Inoue landed a solid left-right that stunned the champion.
Seconds later the #1 seed lands with another right to the head, followed up with left hook to the chin that put his opponent on the deck. Rodriguez got up, but was obviously hurt and bleeding from the nose.
It was at this point where Inoue smelled blood and pounced. Rodriguez went down for a second time in the round of a left-right to the body. While the Puerto Rican once again rose to his fight, he was writhing in pain.
Inoue then poured on, finishing his salvo with a left hook to the body that put the champion down for a third time in the round. Rodriguez was done, and referee Michael Alexander called a halt to the bout with 1:41 to go in the second round.
This was once again a devastating performance by Inoue as he may be the most explosive fighter in the sport. During the post-fight interview he was asked about facing Donaire in the finals.
While he mentioned he had no plan of strategy to fight Donaire yet, he’s really looking forward to the challenge.
Donaire, who was at ringside and in the ring during the post-fight interview said he’s always felt that it would be him and the Japanese champion in the finals and he’s also looking forward to the challenge!
By: Michael Wilson Jr.