Japanese star Inoue aiming for boxing tycoon


Yokohama, Japan (AP) —They don’t call Japanese boxer Naoya Inoue a “monster”.

The WBA and IBF bantamweight world champions are undefeated and all but three of his wins by knockout-mainly in the early rounds.

Recognized as one of the best “Pound for Pound” active boxers around and the best player in Asia since the legendary Manny Pacquiao, Inoue is looking to a big era.

Inoue (21-0, 18 KO) made his debut in Las Vegas last year after winning a knockout against Jason Moloney following the fight in California in 2019. Inoue, who signed the top rank of Bob Arum’s boxing promotion company, fought again in Las Vegas. Knocked out Michael Das Marinas in the year.

His next fight will take place in Japan on December 14th and is widely seen as a tune-up for next year’s unification title match in the United States.

And Inoue has set out to please his Japanese fans who haven’t seen his actions locally for two years.

When you enter the Kokugikan, the venue for traditional sumo sports in Tokyo, Inoue is decorated in red.

The crowd is the white sea, the dress code of the night, symbolizing the Japanese flag and the great hope that the country is on Inoue.

“All fans will have expectations. Inoue, 28, told The Associated Press after a recent sparring at the Ohashi Boxing Gym in Yokohama, southwestern Tokyo.

Inoue said he was looking forward to fighting WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21 KO). The match scheduled for last year was put on hold due to a coronavirus pandemic.

Casimero is fighting Paul Butler in England on December 11th.

WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27 KO) will fight Raymart Gavaro on the same day.

Inoue defeated Donaire in 2019 with a unanimous decision. This was a tough match chosen by the Boxing Writer Association of America for this year’s Best Fight.

When the unified bantamweight mission is completed, Inoue, who is already a world champion in three divisions, plans to increase the weight in 2023.

However, the former WBC Light Flyweight Champion and the former WBO Super Flyweight Champion shrugged his monster’s reputation.

“I’m not called a monster at home. They call me Naoya or Nao,” he said with a laugh.

Inoue loves eating “Yakiniku”, especially beef tongue, and loves watching horror movies. He enjoys karaoke.

For Inoue, who started boxing at the age of six, it was always about his family.Younger brother Takuma is also a professional boxer

The father, a former amateur boxer, devised training methods for his sons, such as pushing a car with the engine off and climbing a rope hanging from the balcony on the second floor of the house.

Naoya Inoue remembered that he never questioned the technique.

“You probably only rebel if you don’t agree with what’s going on,” he said.

Inoue, who married his high school lover, is already a father. He has four sons, two daughters, two and a newborn baby.

His son Akiba, who was holding him in a boxing ring when he was young, has shown a keen interest in his dad’s game, but Inoue doesn’t want him to be a boxer.

“I hope he can find what he really likes,” he said.

He added that the best way to succeed is not to feel stressed.

“You can’t maintain this unless you really like it. It can be injured and life-threatening. It’s a dangerous sport,” Inoue said.

Inoue is part of a Japanese heritage that has been inducted into several Halls of Fame, such as Yoko Gushiken and Masahiko Harada’s “Fighting Harada”. Recently, boxing has become popular among Japanese female medalists at the Tokyo Olympics.

Boxing gym chairman and former world champion Hideyuki Ohashi came up with the nickname “Kaibutsu” or “Monster” when Inoue turned professional. He said Inoue was the cut above any of the boxers he saw — and he saw quite a few.

“It’s not one or the other, but he’s good in every way. Boxing skills, his speed, his punching power, his timing. And most importantly, he’s mental strength. Is to have, “Ohashi said. “He is having fun.”

Ohashi said Inoue is the only boxer who has already decided to retire at the age of 35. After the break, he goes on to something else. He refused to say what it was.

But for now, Inoue is looking at this career path.

“I’m still far from the ideal boxing style I’m pursuing. If I’m happy now, I’ll hit a wall when I go to the super bantamweight division,” he said.

“I’m still 7 or 8 years professional, so I’m going to go even higher.”


Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama