Inoue KOs Tapales In The 10th; Makes History By Becoming Two-Weight Undisputed Champ

December 26, 2023
2 months
Inoue KOs Tapales In The 10th; Makes History By Becoming Two-Weight Undisputed Champ

Naoya Inoue created history by stopping Marlon Tapales to become the new undisputed super bantamweight champion.

The four-division champion stopped the challenger in the tenth after systematically breaking him down. The victory means Inoue unifies the WBO and WBC belts with Tapales’ WBA and IBF belts. The pressure was on Inoue to perform in his home country, but the opening round showed no signs of nerves.

The Japanese sized up Tapales with his jab, then shot his right hand to fend off Tapales, who fought behind his tight guard. Inoue was the more busier fighter, as Tapales appeared reactive rather than forcing the issue. Tapales planned to hit the body and slow down Inoue. But in doing so, he became too reliant and stationary.

Inoue’s right hand then settled in nicely. In the second round, the Japanese landed the right over Tapales’ jab in an early warning sign. Taples hit the canvas in the second following a jab, but the referee called it a slip. Tapales responded by staying on the defensive in the third as Inoue sought to pierce the guard. A four-punch combo pushed Tapales on the ropes, and the challenger did well to avoid the firepower.

Inoue Scores Knockdown

But round four was the first serious danger. Inoue backed Tapales up on the ropes. A left hook was followed by a right hand, and another left hook sent Tapales on the floor. But with five seconds left in the round, Tapales made it out with a sigh of relief.

Tapales responded with an uppercut in the next, but Inoue let fly with numerous combinations. The challenger was struggling to find his feet, but he made some adjustments that proved successful in the eighth. Tapales landed shots to the body and used his left hand to push Inoue back. That was short-lived as the Japanese landed two right hands in the ninth after Tapales fell short.

It was soon over as Inoue pierced the guard. A one-two followed by another right hand got through Tapales’ defense. The sheer power of the punches sent Tapales to the floor. The Filipino failed to get up as he was counted out. The win means Inoue becomes a two-weight undisputed champion alongside Terence Crawford in the four-belt era. It takes his record to 26-0. Following the win, Inoue indicated his next fight could be in May.

Inoue’s Comments

“First of all, I would like to give a big shoutout to Marlon Tapales for taking this fight with me. Secondly, I would like to thank everyone who supported me and made this fight happen. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to fight against such a tough opponent. I think super-bantamweight is my division now, so in 2024 I will look to show even greater form. I am so relieved at the moment to be victorious against such a strong, tough and spirited opponent. He never showed me fatigue or damage; I couldn’t see that from his face, so I was quite surprised when he went down in the 10th round.

“I would like to give a big shout out to Marlon Tapales. Such a tough opponent. He never showed me fatigue or damage so I was quite surprised when he went down in this round. I think a lot of people know the rumour of a fight coming about in May. But I can’t say much about this yet because we’re under negotiation. But I want to make everybody happy so that I can show you a great fight next year as well,” Inoue

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Full Card

Naoya Inoue beat Marlon Tapales via a tenth-round TKO – super bantamweight title

Seiya Tsutsumi beat Kazuki Anaguchi via a UD 10 – super bantamweight

Andy Hiraoka beat Sabastian Diaz via a fifth-round TKO – super lightweight

Yoshiki Takei beat Mario Diaz Maldonado via a second-round KO – super bantamweight

Kanamu Sakama beat John Paul Gabunilas via an eight-round TKO – flyweight

Fuga Uematsu beat Suguru Ishikawa via a fourth-round TKO – featherweight

Rikiya Sato beat Keisuke Endo via a UD – super featherweight