Naoye Inoue underlined just why he is regarded as the best pound for pound boxer on the planet with another stoppage win in his world title fight in Tokyo this evening. The Japanese fighter becomes the first man to unify the bantamweight belts since 1972.

In the modern era it is very rare for any division to have an undisputed champion. But Inoue now holds the WBC, WBO, WBA, IBF and The Ring 118lbs titles.

Inoue was the aggressor in the opening round as Butler had to survive an early onslaught. In the second stanza the Japanese fighter started to brutally target the body of his English opponent.

Openly mocking

Inoue was in control throughout the first half of the fight but became increasingly frustrated by Butler’s reluctance to engage. In the sixth round he was openly mocking the Englishman, sticking his chin in the air and dropping his hands to taunt him.

Butler continued with his safety first strategy and the Englishman’s sole aim at this point seemed to be surviving until the end of the fight. He was on course to do just that until the 11th round when a right hand to the body changed everything.

Butler was trapped on the ropes and that right hand to the body was followed by a combination of punches to the head that dropped Butler. With Inoue having probably won every round there would have been little point in getting up even if the Englishman could have done so.

Moving up

With the win Inoue improves to 24-0 having effectively cleared out the bantamweight division. He intends to move up to 122lbs and confirmed after the fight,

“I am honored to become undisputed champion at bantamweight (but) this is my last fight at this weight.”

This was Butler’s first time fighting outside of the UK and he will not want to return to Japan in a hurry after receiving a serious beating from Inoue. He drops to 34-3 and sees his eight fight winning streak snapped.

At the age of 34 Butler might be contemplating retirement but the good news is that he won’t ever have to face Inoue again, at least not at 118lbs. There are now a lot of vacant bantamweight belts and perhaps the Englishman will look to challenge for one of them.