Naoya Inoue became the first ever four-belt undisputed bantamweight champion, as ’The Monster’ added Paul Butler’s WBO belt to his WBC, WBA ‘super’ and IBF straps with a patient 11th round win at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Inoue dropped Butler with a barrage of punches in the 11th round and the Brit failed to beat the referee’s count, who in turn waved off the contest.
Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs) came into this one needing little introduction as one of the biggest punchers in the sport, and after spells as light flyweight and super flyweight world champion, he had captured three of the four belts available at bantamweight, the last a ruthless second round win in a rematch against Nonito Donaire in June, where he claimed the WBC crown.
The only belt missing was Butler’s WBO strap, and the Ellesmere Port man had seen two dates with John Riel Casimero fall through for the title, and the Filipino was eventually stripped, enabling the 34-year-old to become full world champion.
Butler (34-3, 15 KOs) showed good defence in the first round, but he had to eat some clean combinations along the way, and there was little in the way of attack.
The second saw more blistering combos land for the home favourite, especially to the body, and round three began with Butler trapped in a corner, shipping thudding head shots, before he finally started firing punches of his own.
It was one-way traffic, and rounds four and five saw more dominance from the 29-year-old, before he changed to southpaw in the sixth, in full control.
The ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ seemed happy just to survive, barely throwing a punch, and Inoue was forced to goad his opponent into engaging.
🥊 The 𝐎𝐍𝐋𝐘 current undisputed male champs 👑👑👑👑
👊 Some talent here 👏#Boxing #InoueButler pic.twitter.com/S1E9ZfkN57
— Pro Boxing Fans (@ProBoxingFans) December 13, 2022
It was round after round of attack versus defence, and this pattern continued into the championship rounds, until Inoue finally broke through in the penultimate frame, stepping on the gas to land a volley of punches to the head that forced Butler to the canvas, where he was unable to beat the referee’s count.
‘The Monster’ also became only the fourth current male undisputed champion alongside Canelo Alvarez, Devin Haney and Jermell Charlo, and he confirmed post-fight that he would look to move up in weight.
2020 GB Olympian, Peter McGrail (6-0, 5 KOs) impressed a Japanese audience, stopping Hironori Miyake (9-13-2, 1 KO) in the second of their scheduled eight rounder at featherweight.
Too easy! @peter_mcgrail scores the RD2 TKO! #InoueButler pic.twitter.com/5zxWvdIrTy
— Probellum (@probellum) December 13, 2022
Inoue stops Bornea
Takuma Inoue (17-1, 4 KOs) kept on track for a second world title shot, as the featherweight forced an eighth round stoppage against Jake Bornea (14-4-1, 7 KOs).
The younger brother of Naoya was dominant, and busted Bornea up to the point where he was in no position to continue.
Hiraoka halts Jung
Andy Hiraoka made a fourth successful defence of his WBO Asia Pacific super lightweight title by knocking out Min Ho Jung (13-4-2, 3 KOs) in the eighth round.
After some scrappy action in the main, Hiraoka (22-0, 17 KOs) scored an eighth round knockdown with a left uppercut, and he finished off Jung (13-4-2, 3 KOs) in quick fashion on the resumption, a raking left hand connecting and dropping the South Korean for a second time, with the referee dispensing with the count.
Yoshiki Takei (6-0, 6 KOs) retained his OPBF super bantamweight title, as he stopped Bruno Tarimo (26-4-2, 5 KOs) in eleven rounds.
Takei was cut almost from the off, but responded by scoring a knockdown with a combination in the opening round.
Tarimo was rugged and kept chugging forward, but was hurt by a left hand in the third.
Doctor stoppage halts the action in the 11th ❌#InoueButler x @ESPNPlus pic.twitter.com/jlhx3KRIgW
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) December 13, 2022
Takei did tire and Tarimo edged back into things, but the home fighter was comfortable enough, taking the win as a nasty cut above the eye of the Tanzanian worsened, and the doctor advised the contest to end.
Satoshi Shimizu (11-1, 10 KOs) also won early, forcing Landy Cris Leon (14-23-5, 6 KOs) to retire after the second round of their super featherweight contest set for eight.