Inoue puts super bantam division under one rule, stops Tapales in 10th | Inquirer Sports
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Inoue puts super bantam division under one rule, stops Tapales in 10th

/ 05:10 AM December 27, 2023

Naoya Inoue Marlon Tapales undisputed japan

Japan’s WBC and WBO super bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (L) fights with Philippines’ WBA and IBF super bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (R) during their four-belt world super bantamweight title unification match at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena on December 26, 2023. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

Naoya Inoue is an undisputed champion for the second time in his career.

The Japanese star wore Marlon Tapales down with his power and then connected on a classic 1-2 for a 10th-round stoppage on Tuesday at Ariake Arena in Tokyo.

“The Monster” thus unified the super bantamweight belts, adding Tapales’ International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association crowns to his World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) titles.

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And Inoue is ready to take on all comers in the division, hinting on plans to stay there before moving to try and clean up another weight class.

“I think super bantamweight is my weight division for now so in 2024, I would like [to continue competing] in super bantamweight in even stronger form,” Inoue said through an interpreter after the bout.

It was the 26th victory for Inoue in an undefeated card with just three fighters successful in dragging the fight to the distance.

And it looked like Tapales, who came in a massive underdog, had the perfect game plan to try and steal the bout on points—at least in the opening rounds.

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Early knockdown

But Inoue scored a knockdown in the fourth round and the complexion of the fight completely changed.

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“I would like to give a big shoutout to Marlon Tapales for fighting me,” Inoue said. “I am so relieved that [I won] against a strong, tough and spirited opponent like Marlon Tapales.”

Inoue’s victory came after he unified the bantamweight divisions just last year after stopping Paul Butler. In his first fight as a super bantamweight, he scored an eighth-round stoppage of Stephen Fulton to claim the WBC and WBO crowns.

On Tuesday he completed the set by taking Tapales’ belts with a powerful and calculated performance.

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He connected on a 1-2 that backed Tapales up before attacking the Filipino with another 1-2 combination that sent his opponent to the floor at the 2:08 mark of the 10th round.

Inoue, 30, is only the second fighter in history to become undisputed champion in two different weight classes, the other being Terence Crawford.

TAGS: Boxing, MARLON Tapales, Naoya Inoue

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