Inoue a 'monster' to fear

Lee Gormley
25/05/2018 6:12pm

Lee Gormley reflects on Naoya Inoue's impressive destruction of Jamie McDonnell, and concludes that the 25-year-old three-weight world titlist is truly a boxer to fear...

Throughout its rich history Japan has been a nation closely associated with colossal monsters, legendary creatures and mythical beasts. Such destructive monsters have long been conceived then portrayed on a broad scale through the creative output of the 'Land of the Rising Sun'.

While the narratives of the likes of 'Godzilla' belong to famous novels, comic books and Hollywood movie screens, Japan now has a new monster on its shores - one who harbours devastating power in both hands and is capable of inflicting alarming damage.

Naoya Inoue is 'the Monster' in case. The 25-year-old Japanese boxer has been steadily climbing the boxing ranks in recent years, demonstrating his fierce ability in the ring both on home soil and in America, while being showcased to UK television audiences too.

After just 16 professional bouts, Inoue is a three-weight world titlist already, having today claimed the WBA 'regular' title from Britain's Jamie McDonnell in less than a round of controlled violence and mayhem.

'The Monster' had previously picked up belts at light-flyweight and super-flyweight. Many more big-name opportunities were available at 115lbs, but Inoue simply outgrew the super-fly division and set his sights on silverware further up.

First up at bantamweight was Doncaster road warrior McDonnell, who has long looked less than comfortable making his usual weight, and it proved another destructive outing for Japan's rampantly rising star.

Inoue has rocketed towards the higher reaches of many pound-for-pound thanks to his impressive performances to date, Boxing Monthly online, for example, ranked him seventh in our last P4P poll in January. By dethroning McDonnell inside the opening round of their meeting today, Inoue merely reinforced his continuously growing stature in the sport.

The 25-year-old is widely regarded as one of the most fearsome body punchers in the world and showed his hurtful power within the opening minute against a weight-drained McDonnell, before dropping his opponent with a trademark left hook downstairs.

It was clear from the start of proceedings that Inoue was in 'seek and destroy' mode, charging forward in bursts and catching McDonnell with damaging blows.

Following the first knockdown, Inoue turned and gestured to the partisan crowd, rallying them for the decisive assault that would soon unfold on the ropes. The home favourite forced McDonnell into a vulnerable position from which he couldn't escape and proceeded to wallop him until the referee had no other choice but to intervene.

During the aftermath of his crushing victory on home territory, Inoue confirmed what all boxing fans desperately wanted to hear, namely that he intends to enter the upcoming World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament. The prospect of seeing the Japanese superstar battle alongside other 118lbs champions Ryan Burnett, Zolani Tete and Emmanuel Rodriguez is truly mouth-watering.

Although he was defeated comprehensively, some credit must go to the dethroned champion McDonnell, who showed courage in taking on one of the best fighters on the planet in his own backyard. McDonnell also had the professionalism to somehow make the bantamweight limit again, despite having evidently outgrown the division some time ago.

But today undoubtedly belonged to the new WBA bantamweight title holder from the Land of the Rising Sun - the future for Inoue is bright, and today he proved he was a 'Monster' to truly fear.