Inouye is better than Crawford…! Naoya Inoue “Former World Heavyweight Champion Roars Tapales KO” – What’s Inside the Advanced Technique | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Inouye is better than Crawford…! Naoya Inoue “Former World Heavyweight Champion Roars Tapales KO” – What’s Inside the Advanced Technique

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Inoue confidently dominated the ring while changing angles

In a unified super bantamweight title match on December 26, Naoya Inoue (30), as most expected, beat Marlon Tapales (31) by KO to unify the four major 122-pound titles.

Five hours after WBC/WBO champion Naoya Inoue added another white star to his record, bringing his record to 26 fights with 23 KOs, I called former world heavyweight champion Tim Withaspoon of Bensalem, Pennsylvania.

The ESPN+ coverage of the Inoue vs. Tapales fight began in the Eastern United States at 5:55 a.m. local time on the 26th. It was the day after Christmas and the day before Witherspoon’s 66th birthday. While his five 13-year-old daughters, who live with him, were sleeping, the former world heavyweight champion watched the four-crown unification super bantamweight title match from his apartment.

Witherspoon opened his speech by bouncing, “Awesome, Inouye! That was a great fight,” he said in a bouncy voice.

I honestly thought Inouye was going to KO Taparez within five rounds,” said Witherspoon, who had seen the fight in the past. In that sense, it took him a little longer to finish Taparez. But I’m glad I was able to enjoy Inouye’s boxing for what it was. Well, I enjoyed it.”

Withaspoon, who won the WBC title in 1984 and the WBA title in 1986, now teaches boxing to professionals and amateurs, young and old. His reputation for “no-hitting boxing” allowed him to stay in the ring until he was 45 years old. He was ranked ninth in the IBF until just before his retirement, which shows what a rare talent Witherspoon was.

Inouye is very confident,” said Witherspoon. He was calm from the start, and his sharp jab on the first round showed his mental capacity. Feinting back and forth, he would have subtly shifted his head position and then landed a right uppercut to the body. That forced Tapales to be wary of the belly. The distance was also Inouye’s. Then he hit a one-two from a distance. It was a heavy punch that would turn Tapares over if it hit him. Inouye had already set the pace from the start.

Inouye had a clear view of Tapares’ punches. His right hook was effective. He was also landing jabs to the face, chest, and stomach. When Tapares came out, Inouye back-stepped to avoid him. There were no holes in his offense or defense. He landed sharp straight right hands without pause, as is his theory when fighting a southpaw. He was boxing with a very high level of perfection.

Tapares also ate well and showed his heart.

Tapares’ straight left hand caught Inoue in the face at one point, but the Japanese supremo had no problem taking the point. Before the match, many pointed out the difference in ability between the two fighters.

‘Indeed,’ said one. But even though it was a unification fight, they were not fighters of the same level. When I teach boxing, I repeatedly stress the importance of defense. I have said that about Inoue in the past. I had no complaints about the way he came out this time. His guard was high and his footwork was excellent.

And I like his attitude, “I’m going to put him to sleep with a hard hit anytime. I like his type. “Taparez’s slip at the beginning of the second round seemed to me to be caused by Inoue’s jab. …… He punched up and down from different angles, with straight rights, right hooks, and right uppercuts. Inouye is a really great fighter, with good speed and snap.

He hit several body blows to chip away at Tapales.

In the third round, Inoue’s movements became clearly KO-oriented. His moves increased, and he invited Tapares to back him into the corner.

Inoue’s body language was very good, but Tapares was also very strong. But Tapales responded with body shots and persistence. I thought he did pretty well, even for four rounds. He showed that he was in good condition by ducking and dodging Inouye’s attacks, landing combinations, and landing a straight left to the body and then a right hook to the face. This is a big stage for him. He must have trained hard. I give him a lot of credit for building up his best self, both physically and mentally, which he has never done before. Still, Inoue’s punching accuracy was better. I saw the ending coming when I took him down with a series of left hooks.”

Late in the fourth round. Tapales went down to both knees. He was saved by the bell, but it looked like the fight was over.

In the following round five, Inouye looked to decide the fight. But Tapares held his ground and fought back with a number of combinations. Inouye was calm there, too. He chose a strategy of not going too deep, but cutting down. I didn’t panic, and I let the damage accumulate to finish. He controlled Tapares with a comfortable margin.

Inouye let Taparez attack, but he was still able to get off his core. And he landed several counter right uppercuts to the chin. You hit him with hard punches over the gloves to get him to open his guard. Then you stepped in and showed your attacker how to hit the same spot again. It was really clever. Tapales was getting tired. No wonder. Then he finished him off with a straight right hand in the first half of the 10th round. It was a beautiful knockout.”

Tapares’ persistence after the fifth round was also worth watching, I told Withaspoon.

I told Witherspoon, “Yes, it was. Tapares is good at perseverance,” I told Witherspoon. In the fight where he won the WBA/IBF title with a decision over Mrozhon Ahmadaliev, he fought honestly and kept his own pace. He was outclassed all the way this time, but I’m sure he unleashed combinations again and again. Inoue couldn’t get through to him, but he was able to win the world title because of his mental strength. I applaud the loser.”

Just one year after unifying four titles in the bantamweight division, he also bundled four belts in the super bantam division.

Tapales’ record stands at 37 wins (19 KOs) and four losses.

Witherspoon spoke cheerfully.

I feel that Inouye is the most complete of the current world champions. It was a really great fight.

In the current pound-for-pound debate, the media’s number one choice is usually WBA/WBC/WBO unified welterweight champion Terence Crawford, with Naoya Inoue in second place.

‘If that’s the case, my number one pick would be Inouye. Crawford has problems with his defense. I’m concerned about the fact that he sometimes eats his opponent’s punches unintentionally. Inouye had good defense today. If I were to debate who is pound for pound? I would say Inoue.

Do you see any issues with Naoya Inoue right now? The former world heavyweight champ responded.

I would say that he should learn to close the distance with head slips. Joe Frazier (Muhammad Ali’s rival, former world heavyweight champion and gold medalist at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics) used to do that. I used to copy him too.

Inouye is a man who has won four weight classes. He has the power and speed to fight, but he will probably have to fight more opponents who are bigger and have a longer reach than he does. I’d like to see him head-slip into the pocket of his opponents and land those hard hits.”

Witherspoon concluded.

Inouye is 30 years old…if he fights at 122 pounds, he’s going to be unbeatable. After that, I think he’ll move up to featherweight. I’m sure he’ll be fighting at a high level again. I will continue to look forward to his fights.”

How far will Naoya Inoue go?

Tim Witherspoon was born on December 27, 1957© Soichi Hayashi

Click here to purchase Soichi Hayashi’s book “The Fist of Minority” about Tim Witherspoon’s life.

  • Reporting and writing by Soichi Hayashi

    Born in 1969. Passed the professional boxing test as a junior lightweight, but suffered a setback due to a left elbow injury. After working as a reporter for a weekly magazine, he became a nonfiction writer, and in 1996, he moved to the U.S. to teach at a public high school in the U.S. He also works as an educator. 2014, he completed the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, the University of Tokyo. He is the author of "Minority Fist," "America's Lower Level Education Site," and "America's Problem Child Regeneration Classroom" (all Kobunsha e-books), "God's Ring," "The Door to the World: Forward! Samurai Blue" and "Hohoite to Nurture Coaching" (all published by Kodansha).

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