Inoue Stops Tapales In 10th Round To Become Two-Weight Undisputed Champ

Naoya Inoue (WBO and WBC champ) stopped Marlon Tapales (WBA and IBF champ) in round ten to become the undisputed super bantamweight champion.

The victory means Inoue joins Terence Crawford as the only male boxer in the four-belt era to become undisputed in a second weight class. The opening round summed up the theme of the fight. Inoue’s quick-hand speed showed his intention to fight on the front foot as Tapales sought to counter the Japanese. Inoue connected with a right hook to the body while Tapales was behind his jab. As Tapales reached forward, Inoue connected with a right uppercut in a solid first round. Tapales’ aim was clear: to target the body, but it proved much more difficult. 

The Japanese upped the pace, causing Tapales to touch the canvas in the next round following a jab. But the referee deemed it a slip. Inoue was the busier fighter. The Japanese backed up the challenger in round three before Inoue scored the first knockdown in the next round. Inoue’s left buzzed Tapales. He followed it up with a flurry of combinations as a left hook sent Tapales down.

But with five seconds to go, Tapales escaped the round with a much-needed breather. Inoue increased the tempo in the next round, landing his left and right to break through Tapales’ guard. Tapales responded with a strong left hook, but it was a minor success in a one-sided round.

Tapales had done well to say in the bout. He backed up Inoue in round six, but Inoue responded with a quick right, forcing Tapales to retreat. The WBA and IBF champion needed to make adjustments, which he did. It proved successful in a strong round eight. He connected with Inoue’s chin with his left and moved back to avoid the counter. That only saw Inoue come back stronger.

In round nine, Inoue caught Tapales with two right hands. A one-two then backed Tapales in the corner. And the following round ended the fight. Inoue landed with a right cross, followed by another big right hand. The two shots went through the guard, pushing Tapales back. He fell to his knee but could not beat the count as Inoue picked up the WBA and IBF belts. The victory strengthens Inoue’s claim as the best pound-for-pound fighter.

Comments

“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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