Naoya Inoue Defeats Tapales, And Becomes Two-Weight Undisputed World Champion

By Vince DWriter - 12/26/2023 - Comments

History was made on Tuesday, December 26th, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, as Naoya “The Monster” Inoue knocked out Marlon Tapales (37-4, 19 KOs) in the tenth round and became the second man in the four-belt era to win the undisputed crown in two divisions.

Inoue joins his main pound-for-pound competitor, Terence “Bud” Crawford, as they are the only two male boxers who have achieved this milestone. The first boxer to make this accomplishment was the pound for pound queen Claressa “The Gwoat” Shields.

After winning world titles in the light-flyweight and super-flyweight divisions, Inoue moved up to bantamweight and won his first world title in that weight class back in May 2018. Four years later, Inoue would become undisputed when he knocked out Paul Butler.

Shortly after winning the undisputed crown, Naoya Inoue announced his decision to relinquish all four belts and move up to the super-bantamweight division. In his first bout in his new weight class, Inoue stopped Stephen Fulton in the 8th round and won the WBC and WBO super-bantamweight titles.

As soon as Inoue claimed victory, the WBA, IBF super-bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales got in the ring and stated he wanted to fight Inoue because he wanted to prove himself.

Tapales would receive that chance to prove himself as the battle for undisputed was set to take place on December 26th.

On fight night, which happened to be fight morning in the United States, Inoue controlled the opening round by landing the jab and the one-two, but Tapales was able to sneak in a solid left hand shot. Round 2 was a carbon copy of the first round as Inoue landed combinations, and Tapales landed a couple of single shots.

Inoue, the orthodox fighter, continued to win the foot position battle as he was able to stay in range and land solid shots throughout the round. At the beginning of the fourth round, Inoue fired a quick combination, and Tapales responded by landing a sharp right uppercut.

The southpaw Tapales proceeded to press forward and land solid shots to the body. Fighting off his back foot, Inoue landed combinations that started downstairs and ended upstairs. With 22 seconds left to go in the fourth, Inoue landed a big left, followed by a flurry of shots that sent Tapales down to the canvas.
Tapales was able to beat the count as round four came to a close.

Inoue was very aggressive in the fifth round, but Tapales was able to stand his ground and land solid countershots throughout the round.

In the sixth round, Inoue dictated the range and the pace of the round as he was able to land the right hand and multiple combinations. Tapales had a good round in the seventh as he consistently landed a strong jab.

Rounds eight and nine consisted of back-and-forth action as both boxers were able to execute their offense. In the opening minute of the 10th round, Naoya Inoue knocked out Marlon Tapales when he split the guard and connected with a hard right hand shot.

A year after becoming undisputed as a bantamweight, now Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs) is the undisputed super-bantamweight world champion. The 30-year-old has already produced an iconic career, and he’s still in his prime.

Naoya Inoue is bound to add more accolades to his legendary resume, but one particular accolade may stay in the distant future. Inoue has the chance to move up to featherweight and attempt to become undisputed in a third division, but during his post-fight interview, Inoue stated he plans on staying at his current weight class.

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