Tuesday, December 26th 2023

The Master: Naoya Inoue Stops Marlon Tapales to Become Undisputed Junior Featherweight World Champion

Inoue is now a two-weight undisputed world champion

TOKYO, Japan (Dec. 26, 2023) — WBC/WBO junior featherweight world championNaoya “The Monster” Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs) made history again.

The Japanese pound-for-pound superstar knocked out Filipino IBF/WBA champion Marlon Tapales in round 10 to capture the undisputed junior featherweight championship Tuesday at Ariake Arena in Tokyo.

With the victory, Inoue joins Terence Crawford as the only male two-weight undisputed champions in the four-belt era. A four-weight world champion, Inoue is 21-0 with 19 knockouts in title fights and has knocked out his last seven foes.

Tapales (37-4, 19 KOs), a two-weight world champion, saw his four-fight winning streak end.

Inoue said, “I am so happy that I got the knockout in such a decisive manner.

“He never showed me fatigue or damage from his face, so I was quite surprised when he went down in the 10th round.

“It was one of the most intense fights I’ve ever had, probably, but my corner cheered me up and kept me focused throughout the bout.”

Tapales, who won the unified world championship earlier this year, came out as the aggressor and attempted to slow Inoue down with a concerted body attack. Inoue responded with savage body blows, sweeping the early rounds on the scorecards. Late in the fourth, a series of left hooks dropped Tapales, who rose just before the bell sounded to end the round.

Tapales found his rhythm in the middle rounds, backing Inoue up and ripping body shots in the seventh and eighth. “The Monster” found his stride in the ninth and finished off Tapales in the 10th with a right hand that put him down for the count. The pound-for-pound king, who started his career at 108 pounds, added two more belts to his massive collection.