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Boxing Results: Naoya Inoue smashes Emmanuel Rodriguez; Josh Taylor defeats Ivan Baranchyk

Image: Boxing Results: Naoya Inoue smashes Emmanuel Rodriguez; Josh Taylor defeats Ivan Baranchyk

By Barry Holbrook: WBA ‘regular’ bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs) put himself in position to fight Nonito Donaire next with his second round knockout victory over IBF 118-pound champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12 KOs), and Josh Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs) earned his way to the final of the WBSS 140-pound tournament to face Regis Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) by beating IBF light welterweight champion Ivan Baranchyk (19-1, 12 KOs) last Saturday night at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.

After an uneventful first round, WBA ‘regular’ 118-pound champion ‘Monster’ Inoue knocked Rodriguez, 26, down three times in the second round to get a knockout in their World Boxing Super Series bantamweight semi-final match. The win sends the 26-year-old Inoue into the final of the WBSS tournament to face WBA Super World bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs).

“I always felt like I could knock him out and that’s what I fought for,” said Inoue about his stoppage win over Rodriguez.

Inoue could make mistake of slugging with Donaire

It’s going to be riskier for Inoue to try and punch his way to a victory against Donaire in the final of the WBSS. Donaire has equal if not better punching power than Inoue. Donaire has proven that his power his carries all the way to featherweight. Inoue is a good fighter, but it’s difficult to imagine him being able to beat top super bantamweights like Emanuel Navarrete or Rey Vargas or the elite featherweights like Gary Russell Jr. or Oscar Valdez. Donaire has the kind of power that could bring Inoue down to earth if he gets hit by one of his perfectly timed left hooks. What Inoue has going for him is youth. Donaire is 36-years-old now, and not the same fighter he was when he fought at bantamweight nine years ago, and was destroying the likes of Volodymyr Sydorenko and Fernando Montiel. Donaire’s hand speed, and reflexes aren’t what they were back then. What Donaire still does possess is his power. He hits about as hard as he did back then, and if he connects with one of his left hooks on the chin of Inoue, he’ll knock him out just like he did with his last opponent Stephon Young in the semi-final of the WBSS tournament.

“Nonito Donaire is a terrific fighter. He can box well, he can punch well. I’m confident I will beat him, although I’m not quite sure of my strategy just yet,” Inoue said.

If Inoue fails to get a knockout of Donaire in the first six rounds, it could be bad news for the ‘Monster.’ It means that Inoue would need to eat a lot of heavy shots from Donaire, and it’s unclear whether he can handle those kinds of punches. Inoue looked flustered from the big punches that Rodriguez was hitting him with in the first round last Saturday night. Rodriguez’s shots were knocking Inoue backwards from the impact each time, and it looked like it was going to be a bad night for the Japanese fighter. Rodriguez got greedy in the second round by trying to throw combinations instead of the safer single shots, and this enabled Inoue to counter him with a left hook that dropped him for the first knockdown. Rodriguez never recovered from the first knockdown. Inoue then poured it on to drop Rodriguez twice more before the referee Michael Alexander stepped in and waived off the fight following the third knockdown of the second round. The fight was stopped officially at 1:19 of round 2.

“It was an incredible fight,” said Donaire in talking about Naoya’s knockout win over Emmanuel Rodriguez. “I am looking forward to the final, this is the type of fight that I want to be in. I always seek to fight the best of the best. The one with the best game plan wins the final.“

Donaire is going to be looking to take advantage of Inoue’s aggressiveness by lowering the boom on him with one of his big left hooks. This is going to be one of those fights where both guys are going to have a chance of ending it. You have to favor Donaire the longer the fight goes, because he hits harder with his left hook, and he’s the naturally bigger fighter of the two. Inoue looked like a super flyweight facing a bantamweight last Saturday night against Rodriguez. The size difference between the two fighters was substantial. Inoue was clearly bothered by Rodriguez’s power in the fight. It was lucky for Inoue that Rodriguez got sloppy in the second round. Had Rodriguez been disciplined like David Carmona was, Inoue would have been in a really grueling fight if the match had gone 12 rounds. Inoue couldn’t knockout Cormona in their fight in 2016, and he took a lot of punishment from the Mexican fighter along the way in winning a decision. Carmona fought a much smarter fight than Rodriguez did. Carmona knew better than to attempt to throw combinations against Inoue. Instead, he nailed Inoue with single shots all night, and won rounds against him.

Josh Taylor vs. Ivan Baranchyk – fight results

Josh Taylor beat Ivan ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 117-109, 115-111 and 115-111 to earn his way to the final of the WBSS light welterweight tournament to face WBA 140-pound champion Regis Prograis. It wasn’t the best performance of Taylor’s pro career or the easy fight that he claimed it was afterwards. It was a difficult for Taylor, as he took a lot of heard shots in each round.

“I took more risks than I should have,” said Taylor, who looked like of beat up around the face afterwards. “And I could have made it easier on myself. If I had more time in the sixth round I would have stopped him. It was easy peasy. I’m so delighted of winning a world title and I can’t wait for the final now. I think I’m the best, Regis Prograis thinks he is the best. I am confident of going all the way.”

Baranchyk forced the action, so Taylor wasn’t able to box comfortably the way he wanted to. Baranchyk wasn’t going to let Taylor win cheaply by staying on the outside. There are no easy fights at this level for guys like Taylor or any of the elite. You don’t win easy when you’re in with the best. Taylor was hurt on numerous occasions in the fight. In the sixth, Taylor caught Baranchyk with a big shot that knocked him down. Baranchyk was throw a punch at the same time, and wasn’t prepared for the shot that Taylor was throwing. Taylor took advantage of Baranchyk being hurt by dropping him a second time in the round. However, Baranchyk recovered in between rounds, and Taylor was foiled in trying to stop him in the seventh. Taylor tried, but got nailed hard in round 7, and he quickly gave up on the idea of knocking out Baranchyk. It was better for Taylor to play it safe from that point on.

Prograis was impressed with what he saw from Taylor, but not worried about beating him. The New Orleans native sees Taylor as just another victim for him.

“It was an excellent fight,” said Prograis. “But I am the best in the division and I will beat Taylor and take home the Ali Trophy.”

Taylor’s boxing fans booed Prograis after the fight when he stepped into the ring to be interviewed and pose for the media.

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