Japanese boxing sensation Naoya Inoue has inspired comparisons to no less than eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.
Regarded as one of the promising fighters on the planet, Inoue’s impressive performance and undefeated recorded has catapulted him to stardom.
He currently has 19 wins, 16 coming by way of knockout under his belt.
Born in Kanagawa, Japan, Inoue had a stellar amateur career before rising in the professional ranks.
He finished third during the Asian Youth Championships held in Tehran, Iran in 2010.
A year after, he brought home the gold during the 21st President’s Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia defeating our very own Ian Clark Bautista in the finals.
He then made his professional debut a year after against another Filipino, Crimson Omayao via a convincing fourth round knockout.
Omayao was knocked-out during the opening rounds following a barrage of body blows from Inoue but was able to recover and carry on.
In the fourth round, a combination from Inoue left the Bukidnon native on the canvass that ended the fight.
The three-weight world champion captured his first title against Mexican Adrian Hernandez in a sixth-round TKO in 2014.
He vacated his light flyweight title after his defense against Samartlek Kokietgym of Thailand and moved up to challenge the WBO junior-bantamweight holder Omar Narvaez of Argentina and successfully routed him in a second-round KO.
After retaining the belt in seven consecutive matches, the Monster conquered the regular bantamweight title against Englishman Jamie McDonnell in Tokyo, Japan last 2018.
A knockout artist, Inoue earned the nickname “Monster.”
It is undoubtedly mind blowing that the now Philippine senator used to fight at Inoue’s weight class. Inoue continues to show resemblance of the future Hall of Famer with his punching power and 84% knockout-to-win ratio. Last 2019, Pacquiao and Inoue met in Japan in a promotional appearance. In a press con, the latter was seen teaching his patented left-hook to the younger fighter.
However, during his recent bout against four-division world champion Nonito Donaire, Inoue showed flaws and areas to work on his game.
We also have to take note that Inoue was fighting a much older Donaire that many analysts presumed to be past his prime.
Both fighters traded punches during the first half of the fight.
A left hook from the Filipino Flash in the second round caused a serious cut above the Japanese’ left eye that affected his vision.
Inoue fought back during the latter part of the fight and took Donaire in trouble.
The match ended with Inoue winning via unanimous decision.
It is also the first time for him fighting for 12 rounds. After the fight, Inoue revealed that he suffered an injury during that second round collision. The thrilling fight that saw an incredible heart and endurance by both men was later voted as Fight of the Year by The Ring Magazine.
Naoya Inoue is slated to fight Jason Moloney on October 31 in Vegas after his supposed clash with Filipino fighter and three-division world champion John Riel Casimero fell apart.
Casimero on the other hand is set to face Ghanaian Duke Micah. The much anticipated unification bout against Casimero would have been a true barometer for Inoue.
The coronavirus pandemic brought a major factor for this match-up that became a casualty. Inspite of that, Sean Gibbons of Manny Pacquiao’s MP promotions, who handles Casimero, was still optimistic for the fight to take place in 2021.
“Everything’s on the table,” he said.
All that being said, it is still early to compare the young Japanese sensation to Manny Pacquiao.
Though Pacquiao and Inoue are of the same size, the Monster clearly has a lot more work to do.
“Marami ka pang kakaining bigas” as what some Filipinos would usually say.
But with Inoue’s talent and flashes of brilliance, he definitely has what it takes.
It is only a matter of time for it to unfold.