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[ODDS and EVENS] Naoya Inoue Fired Up About Title Unification Fight with Marlon Tapales

In the run-up to the bout, promoter Bob Arum described Naoya Inoue this way: "We are witnessing an all-time great fighter in the prime of his career."



Naoya Inoue
Naoya Inoue speaks at a news conference on October 25, 2023, in Yokohama. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ODDS and EVENS] Naoya Inoue Fired Up About Title Unification Fight with Marlon Tapales

For nearly 60 years, Bob Arum has worked as a boxing promoter, so his insights on Naoya Inoue carry weight. 

And even if Arum aims to build a buzz before every blockbuster bout he's promoting, decades of ringside observations have made the native New Yorker a recognized authoritative voice within the sport.

Inoue is set to face Filipino opponent Marlon Tapales on December 26 in a super bantamweight title unification bout at Tokyo's Ariake Arena.

The 31-year-old Tapales (37-3, 19 knockouts) currently holds the IBF and WBA championship belts. He's coming off a split-decision win over Murodjon Akhmadaliev on April 8 in San Antonio, Texas. In doing so, Tapales, wrested both titles from his Uzbek opponent.

Inoue (25-0, 22 knockouts), competing as a super bantamweight for the first time on July 25, repeatedly battered American champion Stephen Fulton in a one-sided bout, winning by a technical knockout in the eighth round at Ariake Arena. As a result, Inoue walked out of the ring with Fulton's WBC and WBO title belts.

Boxing promoter Bob Arum is seen in a September 2023 file photo. (Andrew Boyers/ACTION IMAGES/via REUTERS)


Arum's Impressions of Inoue

Instantly producing anticipation for the next chapter of Inoue's boxing career, Top Rank, Inc head honcho Arum and Tapales were in the ring after the Inoue-Fulton fight ended. And Inoue and Tapales, who posed for photos with their belts, both spoke that night about wanting to fight each other before the end of the year.

Staged theatrics? You betcha. But don't think for a second that Arum wouldn't have suggested it if someone else didn't.

Indeed, Arum works to promote Inoue's fights on a global scale. A lawyer by trade, the 91-year-old's career as a promoter began in 1966, two years after Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, defeated Sonny Liston for the first time in Miami Beach, Florida.

So what are Arum's impressions of Inoue, who relinquished his four bantamweight title belts in early 2023 to move up to super bantamweight?

"The sensational Naoya Inoue astounds with every performance," Arum said, according to this Top Rank news release. "We are witnessing an all-time great fighter in the prime of his career.

"He has a very difficult task at hand on December 26 against a tough, powerful Filipino champion in Marlon Tapales, but I am confident 'The Monster' will pass this test with flying colors."

As an unbeaten fighter with devastating punching power, impressive speed (hands and feet) and the winner of world titles at four weight classes (including light flyweight and super flyweight), Inoue appears to be at the height of his powers.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.



Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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