By Tré Berry III | 10/29/2020
There was a point right before signing up for the World Boxing Super Series tournament that Bantamweight Champion of the World Naoya “Monster” Inoue (19-0-0, 16KO) had been universally heralded by insiders and hardcore viewers as boxing’s best kept secret. Moving through the weights in the first portion of his career, he not only defeated very good, and in some cases, excellent fighters, he destroyed them without remorse or any inkling of mercy.
Now to present times, even though the mass audience is finally coming around and beginning to learn who he is, and his abilities, many are unfamiliar with his 📜career breakdown thus far, so we will go through his history bullet point, by bullet point, to expose his journey to a brand new audience, and to highlight specifically why he such a revered boxer.
A FAMILY AFFAIR – HOW IT ALL STARTED
Naoya got his inspiration to box at the age of 5 when he used to watch his Father & current Head-Trainer 🥋Shingo Inoue train as a hobby during his spare time, which came about due to a suggestion of a friend that Shingo partake in the training regiment – talk about a fortunate turn of events.
Amazed by what he was viewing, Naoya, like any bright eyed 5 year old kid proud to share time with his ol’man, mimicked Shingo and hit the heavy bag with youthful jubilance. Shingo recognized that his boy had a gift, so he decided to dedicate his time fully into learning the intricate nuances of boxing, transforming himself into a trainer to 🔧fine-tune young Naoya’s overall technique to build upon the natural abilities.
Extra incentive was heaped upon Shingo’s excitement over his prodigal son, when his younger son Takuma Inoue also took interest in what his father and brother were partaking in, so Shingo now had his own tag-team of talented, inspiring young pupils that he could proudly call his sons.
After carefully cultivating his craft, Naoya was guided through some amateur tournaments starting at age 16, and went to the professional ranks at the age of 19. Immediately making his presence felt with local performances in Japan, he has never looked back. Here we will list in detail what he has been able to accomplish so far, and what skills he has in the arsenal that has allowed him to get to the plateau where he is today.
EIGHT YEARS IN THE MAKING – A QUICK CAREER BREAKDOWN FOR THE MONSTER
In his burgeoning professional career, he has already racked up 14 wins in title bouts in just a 19 fight pro campaign.
Naoya Inoue’s upcoming title bout with Aussie top-contender 🇦🇺Jason Moloney will also he his 15th title fight in a row.
He has won 5 world title belts thus far in his 8 year career.
Knocked out 10 opponents that had never been knocked out in their careers prior to fighting him – that’s OVER HALF of all his opponents (Crison Omayyayo, Yuki Sano, Omar Narvaez, Kohei Kono, Ricardo Rodriguez, Antonio Nieves, Yoan Boyeaux, Jamie McDonnell, Juan Carlos Payano, Emmanuel Rodriguez).
Became Light-Flyweight Champion in just his 6th fight, defeating 2-time Titlist 🇲🇽Adrian Hernandez, who was rated #1 in the division by TBRB during the time in which they fought. Inoue with the accomplishment became the second youngest Japanese fighter to win a Title (at just the age of 20).
Set the record for fastest all-time to become a two-division World Titlist in just his 8th fight (the record was then passed up by 🥇🥇🇺🇦Vasiliy Lomachenko, who won a second title in his 7th contest). Naoya Inoue achieved his feat by actually skipping a division, opting to move up two weight classes to devour and obliterate long time Champion and Argentinian boxing legend 🇦🇷Omar Andres Narvaez, who ranks second all-time in boxing history with winning 28 world title fights in his career.
Defeated an all-time-great in 🇵🇭Nonito Donaire to win the 🏆Muhammad Ali trophy in the WBSS, and to take his WBA Bantamweight World Title – a fight that was also heralded and awarded “2019’s Fight of the Year” by 📔Ring-Magazine.
Dismantled top Bantamweight 🇵🇷Manny Rodriguez to become RING-MAGAZINE Bantamweight Champion of the World. Rodriguez, who never been down as a professional in his 19 fight career, was sledgehammered down to the canvas by Inoue 3 times in less than ⌚60 seconds in the second round, eventually causing the Referee to call a halt to the bout and save Rodriguez from the endless onslaught of punishment.
Annihilated 🇬🇧Jamie McDonnell in just 2 minutes, ending McDonnell’s 10-year winning streak. What made this even more impressive was that this was Inoue’s first opponent at ⚖️Bantamweight, stepping up from the Super-Flyweight division. Prior to their scrap, McDonnell was highly regarded and rated #2 Bantamweight in the world by 📔Ring-Magazine.
He also won a 10 round decision against future Lineal Light-Flyweight World Champion Ryoichi Taguchi in what was only Inoue’s 4th professional fight. The following year, Taguchi won the Lineal Crown and held it for 3½ years.
Amazingly knocked out 48 opponents in the amateur system…that is 48 knockouts, with opponents wearing headgear – talk about serious power from a Light-Flyweight, a division not known for producing fighters with 💪🏼vaunted power.
Naoya damn near decapitated 🇩🇴Juan Carlos Payano, who is a decorated amateur with 421 victories to his ledger, and a former Bantamweight Titlist who beat 🇵🇦Anselmo Moreno, who defended the WBA strap 12 times before losing to Payano.
Naoya Inoue also holds victories over 🔱8 fighters whom held a World Title in their career, in his 19 pro fight campaign.
Has knocked down every opponent in his pro career, with the exception of the aforementioned Ryoichi Taguchi, who had a historically iron chin. 🇵🇭Nonito Donaire prior to his meeting with Inoue was only put down by one man (twice), that being 🇯🇲Nicholas Walters who knocked him out. Inoue was the only other boxer successful in denting the iron-clad punch resistance of the Filipino warrior with a scintillating whopper of a left hook to the body in the 1th round.
Inoue’s fight on Saturday will only be the second time that he has fought in the United States. His first exposure to an American audience was on the “Super-Fly“ undercard, where he fought quality contender 🇵🇷Antonio Nieves, and wowed an appreciative Carson, California crowd with his performance.
Of all of Naoya’s (soon to be) 20 professional opponents, the accumulative record that they had entering their fight with the Japanese boxer is 📜481-68-22, which produces an 84.2% winning percentage, supporting the fact that he has faced respected and suitable opponents in accordance to his lofty aspirations, without stat-padding the record for effect.
ANALYZING ALL OF THE NATURAL GIFTS THAT IS IN NAOYA INOUE’S POSSESSION
Amid all of the things he has accomplished thus far, the wide array of ⚒️tools that he pulls from his toolkit is the most impressive of all that is attached to his name. Everyone knows about the power, being arguably the biggest P4P puncher in boxing, but it is the other gifts that tend to go unnoticed.
When we talk about jabs in boxing today, there’s very little argument to be made against him having the best jab in the sport, and is able to use it in a variety of ways to establish and/or maintain distance, inflict damage, or to use as a defensive maneuver to reset his positioning.
Naoya is also the most brutal bodypuncher in boxing, most notably with a heavily impactful left hook designed to break ribs, and to crush the liver. He also puts mustard on the right hand when he dips down to drill the pit of the stomach.
Inoue also possesses a granite chin, never tasting the canvas, and only being hurt by 🇵🇭Nonito Donaire, but never was worked down to the mat. Though this next point is subjective, it is difficult to find a more accurate puncher in boxing today, and it shows in the results of his landed power punching.
As far as counterpunching goes, Naoya fits into the company of 🇲🇽Canelo Alvarez and 🇺🇸Terence “Bud” Crawford in terms of the true pinnacle of the elite counterpunchers throughout the sport. Inoue’s main counterpunch is the check-left hook, that he fires at will, which quickly and often gets to the target, and the counter right uppercut to sneak in on the inside.
To see these gifts tested against a solid top-tier contending Bantamweight in 🇦🇺Jason Moloney, tune in October 31st on Halloween night, and catch it on ESPN+ live streaming app.