Naoya Inoue Knocks Out Marlon Tapales In Ten, Becomes Undisputed For Second Time


Posted on 12/26/2023

By: Sean Crose

There’s no getting around the fact that Naoya Inoue is some kind of fighter. When he lands one of his potent body shots, you not only see it, you not only hear it, you almost feel it. Fortunately, the operative word here is “almost.” Just witnessing Inoue in action is a study in excellence. He may not be awkward or original, but then again he doesn’t have to be. Inoue posts an undefeated 26-0 record, after all. What’s more, as of Tuesday, Inoue is now two time undisputed world champion. For, on the day after Christmas, Inoue thrilled those in attendance at Ariake Arena in his native Japan by knocking out the 37-3 Marlon Tapales in the tenth round.


Thus, Inoue added the IBF and WBA junior featherweight title belts to his WBC and WBO junior featherweight titles belts, becoming the undisputed junior featherweight king in the process. This after becoming undisputed bantamweight champion of the world back in 2022. That’s two undisputed world championships in just over a year (and by “just over a year,” we’re talking a matter of days). At this point, it’s difficult to come up with a name that might give Inoue real trouble right now, provided the fighter known as “The Monster” doesn’t once again jumps up in weight.

With all that in mind, credit has to be given to Tapales, Inoue’s opponent on Tuesday. Sure, he walked into the ring in possession of two world titles, but Tapales was never really given a chance of winning. And while it’s true Naoya was in control throughout the vast majority of the bout, Tapales was never out of the fight, not until that straight right send the gutsy Filipino to the mat in the tenth. He landed well at times, and was even willing to trade with the ferocious Inoue. Long story short – Tapeles was most distinctly NOT in Japan to pick up a pay check on Tuesday. He was there to shock the world. That he was unable to is no source of shame.

Once more, Inoue is something different. He’s a raw combination of talent, strength, hard work, and an ability to fight as if there’s ice in his veins. This was evidenced in the fourth round on Tuesday when Tapales was having some impressive moments. Rather than growing flustered, Inoue turned up the heat and sent Tapales to the canvas. Tapales beat the count and continued fighting gamely, but he simply didn’t have the strength or skill to keep up with Inoue, who had been landing hard since the opening bell. True warrior that he was, Tapales tried beating the count again in the tenth tried after he was sent to the mat for the second time. He simply couldn’t do it.

*Image: Top Rank

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