Naoya Inoue is still the scariest little guy in boxing

The most electric, destructive knockout artist in boxing stands at 5-foot-5 and weighs 117.9 pounds. And on Tuesday in Saitama, Japan, Nawa Inoi forcibly defeated Nonito Donier, the only opponent in 12 fights who (in exceptional circumstances) managed to cross the distance with him.

The first Donaire-Inoue encounter, by which the Battle of the Year is named The ring As the magazine saw in 2019, the Filipino veteran is working with all his might to keep pace with the injured version of his short, pre-naturally talented and undefeated opponent. Donaire bled Inoue with a broken nose and a broken orbital bone that caused double vision, but Inoue stood up, punched a soul-destroying body, and was rewarded with a unanimous decision. Despite the damage, Donner’s performance still stands as an admirable display of survival skills against a monster that made the buzz with a string of Blink-and-You-Miss-Them.

Although Covid has struggled with the pace of his career as it has with all other boxers, the 29-year-old Inoue has been unbeaten in each of his three fights since Donier Bout and has scored in knockouts (the first two unfamiliar headliners in the United States). And after Donier snatched a loose bantamweight belt last May, a rematch became meaningful as Inoue tried to collect them all. Although there was no real suspense in this sequel. Instead, the bleached-blonde star has another opportunity to demonstrate her dominance with both hands.

After feeling out for a few minutes, Inoi starts exchanging front-to-back punches that open things up and, just before the bell rings, leads to disaster for the donor. Not seemingly afraid of getting anything serious in return, Inoi throws his opponent to the ground.

Donner initially looked all right to get out for the second round, but it only took a few punches from Inoi to stun him again. It was academic from there, as the donor absorbed the wound until it finally collapsed for the better. The fight lasted four and a half minutes and still seemed to last longer than it should have.

With the exception of Donier’s first fight, it has been going on for years now: Inoue closes the gap between him and his opponent before another fighter responds, breaking their defenses with his fist until they do nothing but try to keep them. Can’t They will not be able to balance for long. There’s really nothing like Inoue in the small weight class, even the big names sharing the pound-for-pound leaderboard like Crawford and Fury struggle to keep up with the highlight-reel speed or skill that she makes in her statement. .

What makes Inoue special is that it keeps him away from mainstream fame. He’s small and fights in a section that doesn’t get much notice from the mainstream. He comes from a part of the boxing world that has never had a big draw in the United States. And his Japanese fight, as a result, is very inconvenient to watch live in the West. Although his show against Jason Moloney in October 2020 and Michael Dasmarinas in June 2021 created a pair of KOs in Vegas across 10 combined rounds on ESPN and certainly brought him new eyes, they clearly did not flick a switch that converted Inoue. In a courtyard title here. She is a celebrity in Japan and remains a secret in the states, even her knockouts must be monitored by those who know her.

Innov’s potential future match-ups at Bantamweight give no reason to believe that anything will change soon – either his neglected status or his unbeaten 23-0 record. He has already easily beaten most of the top contenders in the division, and logically all that remains will be Paul Butler, a vague Brit who won cheaply and held a belt. Super Bantamweight could be a step in the right direction, even if proven commercial products in the United States and England are still at least one class higher at 126 pounds. Inoue, for his part, seems to be better off either climbing or doing a little longer to do something unprecedented in bantamweight in the four-belt era.

“My goal is to be the undisputed champion,” he said after Tuesday’s victory. “If I could do that by 2022, I would love to be in this department. But if I can’t, I’m capable [moving up to 122 pounds] And fighting for a belt. “

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