Naoye Inoue only made his super featherweight debut this year. The Japanese star has already unified the division, winning every available title after stopping Marlon Tapales in Tokyo last night.
Tapales, who won the unified world championship earlier this year, came out as the aggressor and attempted to slow Inoue down with a concerted body attack. Inoue responded with savage body blows, sweeping the early rounds on the scorecards.
Late in the fourth, a series of left hooks dropped Tapales, who rose just before the bell sounded to end the round. The Filipino found his rhythm in the middle rounds, backing the undefeated Japanese star up and ripping body shots in the seventh and eighth.
Inoue found his stride in the ninth and finished off Tapales in the following round with a right hand that put him down for the count. The end came at the 1:02 mark making it seven stoppage wins in a row for the man many believe is boxing’s pound for pound king.
He can’t be stopped 😤
📸 Naoki Fukuda pic.twitter.com/p1JfAUQqYc
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) December 26, 2023
The last opponent to pose Inoue any real problems was Nonito Donaire. Once again a Filipino opponent provided fierce resistance and the champion was surprised when Tapales finally stayed down,
“I am so happy that I got the knockout in such a decisive manner. He never showed me fatigue or damage from his face, so I was quite surprised when he went down in the 10th round. It was one of the most intense fights I’ve ever had, probably, but my corner cheered me up and kept me focused throughout the bout.”
With the win Inoue improves to 26-0 and adds the WBA, IBF and The Ring super bantamweight belts to a collection that already included the WBO and WBC titles. Tapales drops to 37-4 but still enhanced his reputation with a brave performance.