By: Sean Crose
The Monster strikes again. Naoya Inoue is now the undisputed bantamweight champion of the world courtesy of an eleventh round knockout of Paul Butler in Tokyo on Tuesday. Although he had entered the ring as the prohibitive favorite, the 23-0 Inoue had to make the fight happen himself, as the 34-2 Butler employed a poorly executed defensive strategy. Defensive fighting can be a thing of beauty – so long as it’s effective. Butler’s strategy was only effective in keeping him on his feet. At least that was the case until the penultimate round. As for Inoue – he looked like Inoue, someone’s whose abilities appear almost effortless to perform.
Still, the Hall of Fame bound champion made it a point to finish his man off once he had the chance. Punch placement may well be the strongest skill Inoue possesses and he launched a fusillade of blows against the hapless Butler in the eleventh after handily cutting off the ring on the Englishman. Sharp, powerful punches to both the head and body finally sent Butler to the mat, battered and bested. The referee didn’t even bother to finish the count, as the fight was clearly over. Inoue, who entered the ring with the WBA, WBC, and IBF bantamweight belts, was able to leave the ring with Foster’s WBO belt safely in his possession.
Yet Inoue made it clear his reign as undisputed bantamweight champion might be brief. It appears he may be moving up to 122.
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