Naoya Inoue’s True Strength and Real Challenges as Seen by a Former Heavyweight Champion | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Naoya Inoue’s True Strength and Real Challenges as Seen by a Former Heavyweight Champion

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From the perspective of a great champion, Inoue’s ability is top-notch.

He’s a really good fighter. He’s really good. He’s aggressive, he punches hard, and he’s fast.

That’s what former world heavyweight champion Tim Wetherspoon had to say. With the spread of YouTube, it has become easy to watch the fights of the greats all over the world.

Pound for pound, I’d say it’s the best.

His own son, Tim Witherspoon, 37, also chimed in.

As his father watched Naoya Inoue’s last two fights on his smartphone, against Dipaeng on December 14 and Michael Dasmarinas in June, Junior urged him, “Let’s relax and watch them at my house.

Tim Wetherspoon, who won the WBC and WBA weight class titles in 1984 and 1986, is 64 years old and lives in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, with his five daughters, who are 11 years old. They live in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, 32 kilometers northeast of his hometown of Philadelphia. Junior and his four daughters are all grown, and he is surrounded by 14 grandchildren. His youngest daughter is younger than his grandchildren, a family structure that does not sit well with Japanese people, but as a loving father, he provides for his five daughters.

Tim living with his five daughters.

The former world heavyweight champion visits his son’s boxing and fitness gym every day to work out with his youngest daughter. This time, I visited the former world heavyweight champ for the first time in a year.

I drove 10 minutes west from the gym to Junior’s apartment and turned on the 50-inch wall-mounted TV, where Wetherspoon also saw the Naoya Inoue vs. Jason Moloney fight on October 31, 2020, and the Nonito Donaire fight on November 7, 2019. A year ago, I asked Wetherspoon and his son to discuss the fight between Japan’s most promising champion and this time, I asked them to take a closer look.

Tim excitedly discusses Inoue’s strength.

A prerequisite for becoming a star

After watching the fight, the former world heavyweight champion said, “As far as the attack goes, it’s perfect.

His jab and straight right are sharp. His jab is sharp, his straight right is sharp, and he has a good counter left hook. His combinations are varied. The best part is that Inouye trains hard and comes to the ring in top condition every time he fights.

Nodding a few times, Witherspoon continued.

It’s hard for a lightweight bantamweight champion to become a superstar in the United States. Do you remember Jeff Chandler? He’s from Philadelphia, too. He’s one year older than me and lives close to me. It’s about a 10-minute drive.

Jeff defended his WBA bantamweight title 9 times, but he wasn’t a super famous fighter. Everyone in the boxing world knew him and appreciated him, but unfortunately, he wasn’t recognized by American society. I fought a lot of Japanese challengers because they made a lot of money.”

Chandler fist-bumped three times with his opponent, Eijiro Murata, who defended his draw in the first round.

Jeff tried to move up a weight class at the end of his career. Jeff wanted to move up one weight class at the end of his career, because bantam was too low profile. He lost a non-title bout at super bantamweight and became cautious, although he did win his bantamweight rematch for the WBA title by KO over the same opponent.

Manny Pacquiao, who made his U.S. debut as a super bantamweight, became a legend because he continued to beat big names while gaining weight. He would step on the shoulders of three champions, all of whom were Mexican national heroes. Not only that, he even forced Oscar De La Hoya to retire. He fought a tough fight that was always talked about, and he walked out of the ring a winner. It’s not realistic for Inouye to move up to lightweight or welterweight. But he definitely needs to fight the big names.”

If there is a challenge…

Would Nonito Donaire be Inoue’s biggest rival right now?

Yes, I think so. In the Donaire fight, Inouye was the most impressive, and he had a very impressive fight. In the Donaire fight, Inouye was the most impressive fighter, and it was a very impressive fight, but in this fight, Inouye ate some punches. He needs to work on his defense, as his guard is down a bit at times. I don’t think Inouye has any opponents in the bantam division anymore. He’s going to move up to a heavier weight class in the future, so I feel that his defense when fighting on the inside is an issue.

He should be more aware of his guard at the end of a fight and use head slips more often. Also, you should learn to catch his straight right hand with your right glove. This will make the fight easier. I was good at this. Floyd Mayweather Jr. would catch a straight right hand with his shoulder, but if you catch it with your right, it’s easier to throw the next punch. Well, everyone has their own favorite move.

In addition, if you’re going up against someone bigger than you, you’re going to have more opportunities to block with your forearms, so you should work on hitting big tires with a hammer.

Tim practicing his training.

George Foreman was chopping wood with an axe, but Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and I were using hammers that weighed about five kilos. Ali was doing three sets of five minutes, so I put that on the menu. It’s really effective. You can take punches with your forearms and elbows, and you’ll have more stamina.

Wetherspoon cited Philadelphia’s Stephen Fulton, the current WBC/WBO super bantamweight champion, as a possible target for Inoue in the future.

Fulton is a serious, calm guy, a two-time champ, but he’s not well known yet. He won a unification fight late last year as WBO champion and also won the WBC belt, but it wasn’t an overwhelming victory. In that fight, Fulton was better than Inouye.

Nevertheless, if the fight against Inouye is decided, Fulton will be more focused than ever and will be perfectly prepared. I’m sure he’ll create himself like he’s never done before. So it’s hard to say who has the advantage or disadvantage.

Fulton has more difficulties than Inouye. Many of the current fighters have problems with defense. Heavyweights like Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, and Anthony Joshua take too many unintentional punches. There are very few trainers who can teach them how to defend themselves. It’s a serious problem.”

Tim Witherspoon remained active until the age of 45, raising his children on a “man’s hand” basis. In his later years, he was so busy with housework and childcare that he could barely practice, yet he was still ranked ninth in the world. He was打たせないボクシング> ranked ninth in the world in spite of the fact that he could barely practice.

(For more on Tim’s life, please read my book, “The Fist of Minorities.

Sadly, there are many others who suffer from Punch-Drunk. Jeff Chandler is one of them. He can now walk and feed himself. But he is not in a condition to communicate with others. He can’t carry on a conversation at all. That’s because of the punches he took when he was active. ……

In 1980, when Ali made his comeback and fought Larry Holmes, I was assigned to be his sparring partner. At that time, I was determined not to hit him in the face. Ali was moving slow and talking funny. I was afraid that my punches would cause brain damage to Ali. A boxer should not take a punch as much as possible. You have to improve your defense more than your offense. Inouye is the same way.

Wetherspoon pointed to trainer Shingo, who stood beside Inoue on the screen, and asked, “Is he Inouye’s coach? He asked.

Wetherspoon’s eyes lit up when he responded that his own father, Inoue, a kindergartner, had first become interested in boxing after watching Shingo train.

That’s a beautiful story.

I told Wetherspoon the story of my interview with Inoue. I told Wetherspoon what I once told Inoue in an interview in July 2018, when he had just won the WBA bantamweight title and was set to make his first defense. Inoue said his father was the boxer who influenced him the most.

<It’s hard to put into words what I learned from my father’s back, but I’ve seen that he ‘never lies to himself’ and ‘when he decides to do something, he does it. In the beginning, I felt like I was practicing with him rather than being taught by him. My father never lied in his daily practice, and he worked very hard. I felt that if I was going to do something, I had to be this serious about it.

One of my father’s lessons that is engraved in my heart is, “Practice as if it were your job. That’s what my father always told me from the time I was in the upper grades of elementary school. At the time, I didn’t understand it at all, but as I grew older in middle school and high school, I came to understand the meaning of my father’s words. Now, I realize how important such a daily attitude is. >

The former world heavyweight champion said as he stopped the video several times and stared at Shingo and the WBA/IBF bantamweight champion.

Inouye’s father must have had a good upbringing to have such a good relationship with him. Inouye must have lived all his life feeling his father’s hardships and love for him.

In an interview at the time, Inoue concluded.

<“My father’s guidance is huge. We don’t have any special conversations now, but I can’t be distracted from my daily practice. If the trainer is a stranger, the trainer of a world champion may not be able to say anything too harsh. But since we are father and son, and we are always together, I can’t let my guard down at all. I still feel that I have a long way to go…

The person I look up to the most is my father, and it is because of him that I have come this far. I also have a son, but I wonder if I can convey something to my child as straightforwardly as my father. It must be difficult. I hope that when my son decides on his own path, he will live as straightforwardly as his father did. >I hope that when my son decides his own path, he will live a straight life like his father.

Wetherspoon closed his eyes and listened to what Inoue had said. Then, he said slowly.

I can understand my father’s feelings.

‘That one word alone is enough to win your father’s life. I think I understand Inouye’s strength. I want him to spread his wings even bigger.”

The expression on the former world heavyweight champion’s face showed some of the pain he had overcome as a parent. What will the WBA/IBF bantamweight champion show in the ring next?

For more information on the fierce life of Tim Witherspoon, please refer to my book , “Fist of Minorities.

  • Interviewed and written by Soichi Hayashi Photo Soichi Hayashi

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