It’s a shame that in this day and age on the cusp of 2022 being on the horizon, that we can’t figure our way around a signal problem. Being that Japan was having trouble in getting a proper signal up, the we weren’t able to see a world top 3 Pound-4-Pound fighter broadcast on ESPN or ESPN+, which was the original plan from the get-go.
Nonetheless, as you would expect, 🇯🇵Naoya “Monster” Inoue (22-0-0, 19KO) blasted his opponent out by way of eighth round stoppage over 🇹🇭Aran Dipaen (12-3-0, 11KO). It was good work for the Champion, who wanted to get some rounds in of sustained action, and Dipaen did not embarrass himself given the amount of negative publicity regarding him in the fights lead up. Inoue secured his 4th title defense as the man in the division with Lineage rights.
ALL IN A DAYS WORK FOR THE MAN THAT THEY REFER TO AS THE MONSTER
The first round was fought entirely cautiously, with Inoue always showing respect to his opponent. He kept the high guard, and was probing with the jab to see if there were any tells in Dipaen’s game plan, and picking up the data on how he could go about cutting the distance. Dipaen remained calm as well, staying on the inside, searching for ways to come inside a bit to get his jab going. Towards the end of the round, Naoya Inoue began to flick the authoritative jab to the body.
The challenger did show that he was there to try and win the fight, coming inside early in the second round, throwing a couple of combinations to the body. With no effect from the power aspect, Inoue began to probe on his front foot, forcing Dipaen to bounce outside to try and box from range.
Inoue began to unleash the heavily coiled right hand up top that was splitting the guard, and continued to concentrate the bulk of his work to the body with the jab, cross, and checking the hook whenever Dipaen darted inside periodically. Inoue by a mile has the best jab in boxing, and he began to throw a heavy dose of them upstairs between the gloves.
The uptick of the pace was nullifying Dipaen’s opportunities to get in and strike. Aran Dipaen apparently can take a good punch, because serious leather was being fired his way by the Japanese mercenary, and connecting cleanly on key points of the body, with the impact of the shots audibly radiating loudly throughout Kokugikan arena in Tokyo, Japan.
It would make no sense for us to say that Inoue was beginning to separate, and show that he was classes above, because we already know that…but as he began to warm up, you could see a demeanor shift from Dipaen, understanding that he was in a bit of trouble regarding his prospects.
Dipaen stepped up his aggression, and began to trade with the Champion, though most of those shots were picked off by the forearms. Inoue ripped off a triple left uppercut upstairs, left hook to the body combination seamlessly… something you rarely ever see. Inoue was beginning to take charge, and stalking the Thai fighter, putting pressure on him, and extra weight behind the jab, and looping right hand he was firing.
He began to manipulate Dipaen’s guard by appearing to throw upstairs, but sneaking the huge left hook downstairs underneath the elbow in the high guard defensive anticipatory of what Dipaen originally thought was coming his way. Aran did land a good right hand in the 4th that cut the tissue around the left eye of Inoue, and blood started to come down, but it wasn’t a bad cut of sorts.
Inoue would finish his 4-5 punch body combinations off with immediate action following up with power jabs to keep the mental and physical pressure going without any stops to the action. Dipaen, beginning to feel that pressure, was adamant in staying all the way out of the way in the last 45 seconds of the round. The Inoue jab in the 5th stanza kept Dipaen on his heels, and stuck behind his shell defense, worrying about the effect of the snap from it, as blood began to spurt from Aran’s nostrils, and his mouth.
Inoue changed his defensive style, opening up his stance a little bit, and dropping his hands down to his chest, to try and coax the heavily defensive minded Dipaen (by this point) to throw punches, to open up, giving Inoue opportunities to counter, and exploit openings. Periodically in the middle rounds, Dipaen would inch away from his output dip, and aggressively come forward to throwing 4 punch combinations in closed quarters – with those outbursts just good enough to prevent Inoue walking all over him.
In round 6, Inoue fired off his favorite combination…the uppercut upstairs, to the bone vibrating left hook to the ribs, and the hook made Dipaen circle all the way out the way quickly, with pain written on his face. Inoue, now heavy on the front foot, and cutting the ring off at all stops, just kept the work going, most notable with the power jab, and the cross from range, throwing them in different angles to try and offset Aran’s movements.
Dipaen began to get a little brazen in the 7th round, throwing the right hand, and taunting Inoue a bit in trying to say that he can take his power to play the mental game. Inoue didn’t bite on the taunts, and instead reverted back to using the shotgun jab to continue to exploit range.
Aran’s head games were short lived, as he was wobbled badly by a looping right hand to the temple. Inoue kept the punishment methodical, and Aran was able to get out of the round…but by this point, his face looked like something out of a butchers shop with the level of power punches he was taking in the most recent rounds.
Round 8 was ultimately the Thailand faithful’s last, as Inoue ripped off a 5 punch combination, actually switched to southpaw to end the sequence, and it was the right hook, left hand that sent Dipaen corkscrewing to the canvas.
Withered and beaten, Dipaen got up, and was cleared to continue by Referee Michiaki Someya. Dipaen fired back, but was immediately raked by a big left hook upstairs that brought a big wobble to the legs, and with him facing the inevitable, Someya saved the beaten Thai fighter by stopping the contest, and Naoya Inoue picking up his 19th stoppage.
The lingering press story prior to the bout was in how Dipaen got his opportunity despite on film not really showing his contender status to be accurate, but here he did decently, held a good accord of himself. This was the best showing that we’ve seen from him fundamental wise, which indicates that he and his team really honed in on this assignment.
Of course though, class always shows up, and Inoue got some good work in through the rounds, which was his intent, and the Monster did what he had to do to get his opponent out of there, so secure his official 4th world title defense as a Bantamweight Ring-Magazine Lineal World Champion. Now with this out the way, Naoya Inoue can focus on what he wants.
ZOOMING IN ON THE POSSIBLE ROUTES THAT INOUE COULD POSSIBLY GO
Factoring in that the great 🇵🇭Nonito Donaire just fought a couple days go, successfully defending his WBC strap, his Wife, Trainer, Manager, and everything associated with his resurrection Rachel Donaire stated after the fight…that while they are open towards fighting Inoue, that they would like to target WBO belt holder 🇵🇭John Riel Casimero first, for what would be the biggest all-Filipino fight in the history of boxing. That plan was already halfway in the works, and it is predictable for them to want to go that route first so that they could deal with unfinished business.
If that is the case, then so be it from Naoya’s perspective…however he still has a very strong option in his favor. Filipino Bantamweight world contender 🇵🇭Jonas Sultan is a brand new Top-Rank signee, and he went and made a seismic splash in the division by upsetting unbeaten 🇵🇷Carlos Caraballo in a strong spirited performance.
For those who are unaware…..Sultan actually already holds a victory over 🇵🇭John Riel Casimero from when they fought back in 2017, where they fought in the Super-Flyweight division, with Sultan getting the unanimous nod for a decision. He is also one that you could say in some cases, is the 🇺🇸Shawn Porter of the Bantamweight division, given his style – and for the seek and destroy destructive tendencies of Inoue, who wouldn’t want to see them butt heads in an all-out shootout