Naoya Inoue: 3Kings Boxing 2023 Fighter Of The Year!

The Fistic Dominance of Naoya Inoue Rose Above All Others in 2023

Naoya Inoue named Fighter of the Year for 2023
Naoya Inoue named Fighter of the Year for 2023 | credit: Kyodo

Naoya Inoue Collects Second Undisputed Crown to Outshine All


One of the most argued debates was about who deserved to be named 3kingsboxing.com’s Fighter of the Year for 2023. There were some terrific fighters in the running. But in the end, one fighter stood above the rest: Naoya “Monster” Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs).

In 2022, Inoue became the undisputed champion in the bantamweight division. 2023 was a year in which he set a path to win all the major world titles at junior featherweight.

THE YEAR THAT WAS

First in line was a July 2023 battle against unified champion Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton. At the time of their matchup, Fulton was unbeaten and viewed by many observers as the best fighter in the division. Fulton versus Inoue was a highly-anticipated matchup, and more than a few fans felt Cool Boy Steph had an excellent chance of winning.

That proved to be far from the case. Inoue was in control from the opening bell. Making the fight look easy, Monster scored an emphatic eighth-round stoppage. After defeating Fulton, Inoue immediately challenged the other unified champion in the division, Marlon Tapales.

A showdown between Inoue and Tapales occurred in December 2023 for supremacy at junior featherweight. Tapales fought well. But in the end, the power of Inoue was too much as he won by tenth-round knockout to become the undisputed junior featherweight champion.

SEPARATED FROM THE REST OF THE PACK

In January 2023, Inoue was the reigning undisputed champion at 118. At the end of 2023, he went up in weight and conquered 122 to become a two-time undisputed champion in twelve months!

It was a remarkable achievement in modern-day boxing by the Japanese superstar. Next up for Inoue is a defense of the junior featherweight titles against former WBC bantamweight champion Luis Nery in May 2024 in Tokyo, Japan.

Other fighters were under consideration, such as two-time undisputed champion Terence Crawford and reigning WBC junior welterweight champion Devin Haney. But in the end, the accomplishments and dominance of Inoue were too much to deny.

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About Mike W.1959 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.