“A tambor batiente” (at drumbeat) is an expression used to mean that something is achieved “in a hard-fought way, triumphantly or with great grandeur”, a definition that fits well to praise the unbeaten Japanese fighter Naoya Inoue. That young warrior, 4 times world champion, in the miniscule, super flyweight and bantamweight categories in a professional career that began in October 2012; and since last December 26, undisputed monarch of the super bantamweight category, after a resounding victory in 10 rounds over the Filipino Marlon Tapales, who was defending his WBA and IBF belts.
The fight took place at the Ariake Arena, in Tokyo, with a capacity for 15 thousand people and which was almost at full capacity by a majority of local fans who watched and cheered the “Monster” demolish relentlessly a handsome opponent, who offered a tenacious resistance throughout the ten rounds it lasted, until a right hand of the local idol, to the parietal, took him to the canvas, from which he could not get up but after receiving the count of ten seconds.
Before the end, Tapales never lost and in several passages of the fight forced Inoue to give his best effort in a fight that provided intense emotions in most of the ten rounds, which were of strong and constant exchanges of blows.
For Inoue the win was his 26th and his 23rd KO since his debut against Filipino Crison Omayao, whom he knocked out on October 2, 2012, in the 4th round of the scheduled 8-rounder’s debut. Since then, the only other fighters to have finished the distance standing against the 30-year-old are his countryman Riochi Taguchi, Mexico’s David Carmona and Filipino Nonito Donaire, whom he knocked out in a second fight. Tapales, 31, came out of the ring with a record of 37-4-0, 19 KOS and only 3 lost by KOS.
Inoue, who deserves the positive adjectives of exceptional, fabulous, spectacular, amazing and as many others as readers can think of, only fought two fights this year. On July 25, he dispatched American Stephen Fulton in 8 rounds to win the super bantamweight belt of the Council and the World Boxing Council. Fulton came up unbeaten in 21 fights, but Inoue proved too much of a foe for him.
Inoue, born in Zama, Kanagawa, is currently ranked second in the unofficial pound-for-pound rankings by boxing’s governing bodies, trailing welterweight ruler Terence Crawford. There are thousands, millions of fans, however, who think that the Japanese, who is already considered the best boxer in the history of the discipline in his country, should be at the top of the ranking and it is believed that he is not given the top spot because he is a member of one of the so-called small categories.