Bantamweight king Inoue eyes Butler’s next challenge

Japan’s Naoya Inoue said he has not yet achieved his “goal” after becoming the first world champion to win a bantamweight title in half a century by knocking out England’s Paul Butler on Tuesday.

The undefeated Inoue, nicknamed “The Monster”, had to work hard to wear down Butler’s defense in Tokyo, but eventually dropped him to the canvas with a flurry of shots in the 11th round.

Win Inoue saw himself achieve his long-held ambition of becoming the first bantamweight world champion since Panama’s Enrique Pinder in 1972, adding Butler’s WBO title to his WBC, WBA and IBF belts.

But he warned that his rampage through the boxing world is not yet over and he will review his options before making his next move.

“That’s not the goal,” said the 29-year-old Inoue, who is widely expected to make the step up to the super-bantamweight division.

“Tonight it was something great to see with the fans from where they were standing in the ring, but this point is on the way.

“Enough? I am content, but I want attention to what follows.”

Inoue becomes only the ninth straight world champion since the four belt era began in 2004, and the first in the bantamweight division.

His memory to 24-0, with 21 points, he finally managed to release the dog Butler, who left the house first.

Inoue started the round with a fierce character, landing several big shots in the opening round.

He continued to punish Butler in the early stages, but the Englishman held firm and refused to emerge from his defensive shell.

– Super challenge –

Inoue was frustrated by Butler’s approach and later praised his opponent for his “extreme game plan.”

“In the middle, he tried to make the first attempt and then the struggle from the middle of the fight to insist,” said Inoue.

“I was waiting for me, but he had a good plan to stop me. I’m also trying to change my style and soften him up.”

Inoue finally broke down Butler’s resistance with a knockout in the 11th round, then decided to come down with a flurry of punches.

Butler paid tribute to Inoue as “a very, very good fighter” and acknowledged that he “fell just short.”

“You see the punches coming, but sometimes you can’t get out of the way fast enough because he’s fast,” said Butler, whose record dropped to 34-3.

“That’s what really good fighters do – they have good timing, good precision and good speed, and sometimes you just can’t get out.”

Inoue said he had “no real impression” that Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Ahkmadaliev and American Stephen Fulton are the two champions in the super-bantamweight division.

He said he will take time to decide whether to move up to a weight class, but Butler warned he needs to improve to succeed at that level.

“He’s pretty clueless in his defense,” Butler said of Inoue, who became the first Japanese boxer to be ranked as the best fighter in the ring by Ring Magazine’s heavyweight rankings across all weight divisions earlier this year.

“He knows he has hitting power and he knows he has a good chin.”

“Maybe when he puts on weight, it’s not that he’s unsuspecting, but that he thinks a little more about himself.”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *