Naoya Inoue is on his way to becoming a legend in boxing. Born in Zama, Kanagawa, Japan on April 10th, 1993, Inoue (now 29) first showed an interest in boxing at the age of 5.
His father, Shingo, started training in boxing at the age of 23, but couldn’t pursue a career in it due to other obligations such as taking charge of the family painting company. Therefore, Shingo was very strict with Naoya over his training.
Inoue had a very successful amateur career, amassing a record of 75-6. As an amateur, he won the Japanese Junior National Championships in 2009, bronze in the Asian Youth Championships in 2010, the President’s Cup in 2011, and many more.
As a professional, Inoue boasts an undefeated record of 24-0 with 21 KOs. He is also a three-division World Champion, having won titles at bantamweight, junior bantamweight, and light-flyweight.
With his recent KO victory over Paul Butler a month ago, Inoue won the WBO bantamweight title in addition to retaining the WBA, WBC, IBC, and The Ring bantamweight titles, thus becoming the undisputed Bantamweight Champion of the World.
In fact, he is ranked no.1 pound-for-pound by The Ring magazine, becoming the first Japanese fighter to do so. Okay, so now you’ve got the snapshot backstory on “The Monster” let’s get into Naoya Inoue’s Top 5 Boxing Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez – SSE Hydro, Glasgow (May 18, 2019)
Now 17-0, Inoue advanced to the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight semi-finals to face then IBF Bantamweight Champion Emmanuel Rodriguez, who was also undefeated at 19-0. This fight was also for the vacant The Ring bantamweight title.
In round 1, at 8 seconds in, Rodriguez landed a right hand on Inoue’s face whilst assuming the center of the ring. Inoue tried ducking and advancing, but was met with an uppercut at 0:38.
Eventually, Inoue started landing and getting the better of the exchanges, including landing a clean right cross at 1:00, and a cross-uppercut combination at 1:09.
In round 2, at 0:19, Inoue landed a jab-cross-hook combo. He continued winning the exchanges and landing quick combinations, and by 0:31, he dropped Rodriguez with a quick, body-head shot combination.
Once Rodriguez made the 10-count and the referee allowed the fight to resume, Inoue was out for blood and quickly advanced upon Rodriguez to land double body shots at 0:46 to drop him again.
A wincing Rodriguez got back up to make the 10-count, whereupon Inoue rushed in to throw a flurry of body-head punches at 1:03 to deck Rodriguez for a third time. Third time’s a charm as they say, as the referee stopped the fight at 1:20 into round 2.
This dominant performance earned Inoue the IBF and The Ring Bantamweight titles, whilst he advanced to the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight Finals to face Nonito Donaire.
4. Vs. Omar Narváez – Metropolitan Gym, Tokyo (Dec.30, 2014)
With only 7 pro fights and fighting at light flyweight, the 7-0 Naoya Inoue moved up to junior bantamweight to fight the highly experienced WBO Junior Bantamweight Champion, Omar Narváez.
Narváez was 43-1, with his only loss being against Nonito Donaire for the WBC and WBO bantamweight titles. Other than that, Narváez was undefeated at junior bantamweight, having defended his WBO junior bantamweight title 21 times. On paper, it seemed like Narváez would outclass Inoue, but that was going to prove far from the truth…
In round 1, Inoue landed shots at will, and at 0:25, he landed a right hand that hurt the veteran. At 0:26, Inoue threw another right hand, and although this right hand landed on the guard, it was still enough to hand Narváez his first knockdown, and 10-count.
Narváez made it, and the young Inoue continued bringing the heat. At the 1-minute mark, Inoue landed a left hook around the temple/dome area, knocking Narváez down again. Narváez made the 10-count, only for Inoue to continue pressuring him.
In round 2, Inoue continued overwhelming Narváez with his speed and power. At 1:41, Inoue caught Narváez with a left hook as the veteran tried coming forward. This resulted in another knockdown and 10-count that Narváez survived.
Inoue was unrelenting with the forward momentum, setting up body shots with face punches. Eventually, he dropped Narváez again with a liver shot, and 11 seconds left in round 2. This time, the referee ended the fight at 3:00 into round 2.
This stellar performance earned Inoue the WBO Junior Bantamweight title, a title he would defend 7 times before moving up to bantamweight.
3. Vs. Nonito Donaire 2 – Super Arena, Saitama (June 7, 2022)
Having defeated Nonito Donaire for the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight championship, the 22-0 Inoue faced Donaire again, 3 years later. Now 42-6, Donaire retained the WBC bantamweight title in his last outing against Reymart Gaballo.
Sporting the colors of the New York Knicks, Donaire assumed a fast start and darted in with a left hook at 0:03 of round 1.
With both fighters testing the waters, Inoue finally landed a left hook at 1:03. Both fighters continued testing with the jab, and Donaire tried shooting in with a one-two, only to be countered by a left hook from Inoue at 1:37. Inoue attempted a one-two himself and landed with the right at the 2-minute mark.
With 42 seconds left in the round, both fighters went tit for tat, turning up the pace and exchanging hard blows. With less than five seconds left, Inoue knocked Donaire down with a right hand. Donaire made the 10-count right before the bell rang.
Round 2 saw both fighters continuing to throw heat at each other, and at 0:29, Inoue landed a left hook that wobbled Donaire.
Realizing that Donaire was hurt, Inoue smelled blood and went in for the kill. He constantly pressed Donaire to the end of the ropes and landed flurries of hard shots.
At 0:51, Inoue hurt Donaire again with a one-two-uppercut combination, but after that, it was Donaire pressing forward. However, Donaire was caught with a left hook that got him doing the chicken dance, and once again, it was Inoue pressing forward.
At 1:21, Inoue had Donaire cornered and dropped him with a one-two-hook combination. The referee had seen enough and stopped the fight at 1:24 into round 2.
With another remarkable finish, Inoue added the WBC Bantamweight title to his collection.
2. Vs. Jamie McDonnell – Ota City General Gym, Tokyo (May 25, 2018)
Having defended his WBO junior-bantamweight title 7 times, the 15-0 Inoue decided to challenge the 29-2-1 Jamie McDonnell of Great Britain for his WBA (Regular) bantamweight title.
At the start of round 1, McDonnell threw jabs to keep Inoue at a distance and get the read on him.
Inoue maintained control of the center, and at 0:38, he started turning up the heat with a hook-cross combination. Although he missed, Inoue successfully pushed McDonnell to the ropes and landed a body shot.
McDonnell was immediately brought to a corner at 0:41, allowing Inoue to follow up with a flurry of punches. Upon a quick reset, Inoue darted in with another body hook at 0:45. At 0:50, the two returned to the center of the ring, but McDonnell was clearly hesitant.
Inoue continued stalking McDonnell down and landed a left hook on his dome at 1:19 that wobbled him momentarily.
At 1:24, Inoue threw a right straight, which McDonnell ducked, but followed with a left body hook that dropped him instead at 1:25.
McDonnell made the 10-count, but Inoue quickly went back to hunter mode. Pushing McDonnell towards the ropes, Inoue threw a flurry of head and body punches at 1:44 that decked McDonnell again at 1:50, prompting the referee to call the fight.
Such a performance earned Inoue the WBA (Regular) bantamweight title, and so began his journey of becoming the undisputed bantamweight champion.
1. Vs. Juan Carlos Payano – Yokohama Arena, Kanagawa (Oct. 7, 2018)
After defeating Jamie McDonnell, the 16-0 Naoya Inoue faced the 20-1 Juan Carlos Payano of the Dominican Republic in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight quarter-final.
In round 1, Inoue took control of the center and stayed composed. Payano kept trying to advance with lead-hand punches, but Inoue successfully evaded them. At 0:44, Payano rushed in and clipped Inoue, but Inoue quickly got out and reset.
Now stalking his opponent, Inoue landed a one-two at 0:58 that knocked Payano down. A confused Payano remained on the ground, unable to get up, prompting the referee to end the fight at 1:10 into round 1.
This quick finish helped Inoue retain his WBA (Regular) bantamweight title and advance to the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight semi-finals.