December 30, 2014


Unbeaten sensation Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7 KOs), 115, very impressively and astoundingly captured the WBO super-flyweight belt when he scored a stunningly quick knockout over formidable defending champ Omar Narvaez (43-2-2, 23 KOs), 114.5, at 3:01 of the second round on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan.

Inoue (pronounced E-No-Woo-Yay) quickly dropped the champ twice in the opening session, and followed up his furious attack to floor Narvaez twice more to see him counted out on the deck. A vicious body shot was a haymaker. It was a fantastic finish that showed Inoue must be a genius as well as gMonsterh as nicknamed. Inoue established the new ring record of having acquired the two belts in just eight bouts. Inoue may be going to be an international superstar.

Regardless of some foreign odds that had favored Inoue to win in his ambitious crack, Narvaez logically should have been the prefight favorite thanks to his previous mark of having defended the WBO 112-pound belt sixteen times and the WBO 115-pound throne eleven times to his credit. The underdog Naoya said just after his invaluable victory in the ring, gI had been once obsessed with mental pressure by Narvaezfs superior career, but I was then convinced of my youth and vigor overcoming the difference of career.h His dream and conviction came true as we witnessed with our admiration.

Why did such a confrontation of the formidable 115-pound champ and the up-and-coming but still less experienced youngster (who, however, already had the WBC 108-pound belt in his sixth pro bout) happen? A certain Japanese matchmaker representing Inoue, on September 20, sent an initial offer to Mr. Osvaldo Rivero, a very influential Argentine promoter/manager, for WBA flyweight titlist Juan Carlos Reveco to defend his belt against Inoue on the eve of the last day of the year. Reveco was then scheduled to make a mandatory defense against WBA interim titlist Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep in Argentina in the end of October.

Rivero sent him back a counteroffer, gIfm not certain whether Reveco will accept your December 30 offer only in two months after his next defense. He may suffer any injury or cut. If so, he wonft be able to fight Inoue as you planned. Instead, how about Inouefs shot at another world champ of mine, Omar Narvaez?h

The matchmaker delivered his counteroffer to Hideyuki Ohashi, the manager/promoter of Inoue, who then immediately relayed a mail to Inouefs cellphone. It was just in ten minutes that Inoue, after talking with his father/trainer Shingo, replied to Ohashi that he would whole-heartedly welcome the offer to fight Narvaez. Then Inoue was still the WBC light-flyweight champ, but had a serious weight problem since he had to reduce some twenty pounds to make the 108-pound class limit due to his physical growth. The contract was finally executed after many turns and twists through the negotiation.

For your reference, the WBA flyweight champ Reveco, another champ of Rivero and Inouefs initial target, suffered an injury during his training and his mandatory defense with the Thailander Yodomongkol was eventually postponed until December 19. Should Inoue have refused to meet Narvaez and have stuck to Reveco, his slated December 30 title bout with Reveco wouldnft have materialized in time.

From the first day of his arrival in Tokyo until the beginning of the title bout with Inoue, Omar Narvaez looked very confident due to his long career and excellent credentials. He proudly predicted his lopsided victory, saying, gIfll give the chico (boy) a lesson and sweep all rounds to defend my belt. After his experience of exchanging gloves with me, Inoue will be stronger despite his defeat. Ifll bring back my belt to Argentina without doubt.h He looked like a great champion with dignity like Eder Jofre, Carlos Ortiz, Antonio Cervantes, Ruben Olivares, etc. who previously visited Japan and mercilessly bludgeoned our challengers.

The Argentine group consisted of eight persons staying at a deluxe hotel in Yokohama city, close to Ohashi gym where Narvaez brothers diligently made final training. Nestor Daniel Narvaez, Omarfs younger brother, left the hotel earlier for the arena as he was supposed to fight Naoyafs brother Takuma Inoue (who will also become a sensation soon) at 3 PM, while Omarfs title bout at 8 PM. Omarfs second group, with Osvaldo Rivero and his son Sebastian, departed the hotel at 4:30 PM and arrived at the arena in some thirty minutes without traffic.

Takuma Inoue defeated Nestor Daniel Narvaez by a unanimous decision (80-72 twice and 80-73) over eight rounds in the first bout of the show.

Inoue, standing 5f4h (163 cm) to 5f2.5h(159 cm) for Narvaez, didnft look nervous although he was about to fight such a highly reputed champion as Narvaez. From the start, Inoue put pressure upon the cautious champ who tried to keep his distance from the aggressive challenger. Inoue went forward and landed a solid right uppercut to the belly of the champ, who moved around to avert the Japanese youngsterfs opening attack.

At 0:27 of the initial round, Inouefs second overhand right to the face dropped Narvaez fell on his backside. The champ appeared badly bewildered with his powerful opening attack. The champ pulled himself up and resumed fighting, but his embarrassment on the face didnft disappear because it was the very first time for Narvaez that he hit the deck through his 113 amateur bouts and 46 professional contests (according to Omar himself at the previous press conference).

Narvaez said after the fight, gI was surprised at his powerful punching from the first round. He could really punch.h Inoue reviewed the first knockdown, gI didnft wish to finish it in a hurry. I tried to keep my composure and attack him coolly.h

At 1:01, Inoue again caught Narvaez with a light but accurate left hook that grazed the button and the champ was sent sprawling to the canvas. The champ seemed he couldnft believe he so quickly fell to the deck twice in the first round. Inoue went forward and kept throwing sharp and solid combinations, which, however, were averted by Narvaezfs good defensive skills. But Narvaez probably felt Inouefs tremendous speed and power.

After the surprising opening session, the judges tallied it for Inoue?Jose Roberto Torres (Puerto Rico) and Lisa Giampa (US) both 10-7, Ulysses Glen (US) 10-8, all for the early starter Inoue. It was their first and last description of scores as we would see it over in 181 seconds since. The referee was Dr. Lou Moret of US.

Shingo Inoue, his father and chief second, then signaled his son to go and finish the champ whose heavy damage still remained due to a couple of visits to the deck. The baby-faced son followed his fatherfs instructions.

Inoue, in round two, maintained the pressure to the cautious champ, who at first attempted to turn aggressive but was forced to retreat because of the youngsterfs aggressiveness. Inoue threw double rights to the southpaw champ like left jabs and threw speedy combinations to the shifty champ.

At 1:41 of the second, Inouefs well-timed countering left hook exploded just when Narvaez threw a southpaw right hook. It was in such similar timing that Nonito Donaire had landed an eye-catching left hook over Fernando Montielfs straight right. Itfs a beautiful short left hook, Inouefs trademark weapon.

Inoue, after scoring three knockdowns, logically went for a kill and finish him to bring home the bacon soon. He went forward and landed a solid left hook to the belly following a left-right combination with Narvaez retreating to the ropes.

At 2:50, Inoue pinned him to the ropes and landed a one-two combo followed by a very lethal left hook to the side of the breadbasket. It was a very effective liver punch. A moment later, Narvaez fell with a pain caused by the body shot in delayed reaction. He was listening to the referee Moretfs count and then tried to raise himself up as he was on all fours. Narvaez made a wry face and couldnft stand up until the third man tolled a fatal ten.

The 21-year-ol boy jumped up for joy in the corner where he was waiting to resume fighting. He realized that he was the winner and new champion by defeating such a formidable titleholder as gHuracanh Narvaez.

Naoyafs power punching looked so devastaging that one of Narvaezfs cornermen approached the new champ and asked to let him see the gloves and bandages. He verified nothing wrong and admitted Narvaezfs defeat.

Inoue jubilantly said, gI wished to land strong punches to have him pay his respect for me. I had my right hand hurt when I hit the head of Narvaez in the first round, but concentrated on going on even with a pain. I hope to break Hall-of-Famer Mr. Yoko Gushikenfs Japanese record of thirteen consecutive defenses. I wish to fight another organizationfs champ to unify the belts and welcome any strong challenger.h

The crestfallen ex-champ Narvaez, 39, gloomily said, gThis result was against my expectation. Inoue will have a bright future since he defeated me.h

The dramatic upset caused a nationwide sensation as our Japanese television audience, majority of whom had neither known the name of Inoue nor seen him fight, became stunned and attracted by Inouefs fantastic victory over the great champion. Almost all sports papers made Inoue a hero on the front page on the next day. He became very well-known over a night.

Watching an attached list of early bloomers who could gain world championships in less than ten professional bouts, Inoue became the quickest to win the second world throne by breaking the record of Paul Weir who, in 1994, acquired his second belt (in the 108-pound category. Inoue did it only in his eighth bout.

Reviewing Inouefs career, we have to admit his remarkable talent.

Naoya was born in Zama city (where there is a US military base camp) on April 10, 1993. He learned how to box since childhood at Inoue Boxing Gym managed by his father Shingo who had an amateur career. Naoya, when thirteen, won a national tournament named U-15 (under fifteen years of age) to be named Best Boxer of the tourney. Inoue, whose amateur mark was 75-6 with 48 stoppages, won no less than seven national high school championships, which was unprecedented in history. But Naoya failed to participate in the Olympic Games in London since he dropped a close decision (16-11) to Birzhan Zhakipov in the Asian Olympic qualifier in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2012. The dejected and discouraged Naoya quickly made up his mind to test his fists in the professional squared circle.

His professional road to the world championship was splendid and surprisingly quick. In October 2012, Inoue made a successful pro debut by demolishing Philippine champ Crison Omayao in four. In his second bout, he didnft need three minutes to dispose of Thai national titlist Ngaoprajan Chuwattana in the first session in January of 2013. In his third game, the sensational kid stopped Japanese top contender and durable veteran Yuki Sano in the tenth and final round to become the mandatory challenger in April 2013.

Inoue, in his fourth, quickly wrested the national light-fly belt by scoring a unanimous decision (98-92, 98-93, 97-94) over taller and talented defending champ Ryoichi Taguchi (who also became the world titlist by dethroning WBA 108-pound champ Alberto Rossel of Peru on December 31 this year) in August 2013. The fifth bout witnessed Inoue acquire the vacant OPBF (Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation) 108-pound belt by lopsidedly halting Filipino Jerson Mancio in five quick rounds in December of the previous year.

In his only sixth pro bout, Inoue, just four days after his twenty-first birthday, captured the WBC light-flyweight belt by dropping and stopping Mexican Adrian gConfesorh Hernandez in only six rounds in April of the previous year. The seventh fight witnessed the sensational kid make his first defense by flooring Thailandfs Smartlek Kokietgym in the fourth and sixth en route to an eleventh round stoppage last September. And then, he jumped up two categories to win his second throne from Narvaez in his eighth professional bout.

This reporter has seen boxing for fifty-seven years and has watched many great or talented champions out of Japan. After witnessing only eight pro bouts of Inoue, yours truly cannot evaluate him in our fistic history. If I do so, it must be an imprudent judgment.

This observer, however, realizes that Naoya Inoue seemingly has special ability to instantaneously concentrate his punching power on a point and explode his lethal shot accurately at the pinpoint of his opponent. His strength at the gym is widely known among our boxing people. He beat up all name boxers such as Akira Yaegashi (in the same Ohashi gym), Yu Muranaka (national flyweight champ), Malcolm Tunacao (former OPBF bantam ruler), Nobuo Nashiro (ex-WBA 115-pound champ; retired), Ryoichi Taguchi (current WBA 108-pound titlist), et al.

This reporter hates easily using a word of ggeniush since there have been great many so-called geniuses or early bloomers in the past but all didnft necessarily make overall achievements despite their early successes.

We, boxing people and fight fans in Japan, express our thanks to Omar Narvaez and his promoter Osvaldo Rivero for coming to Japan by sacrificing Christmas holidays to give an opportunity to our sensational kid gMonsterh Inoue. Narvaez might underestimate Inoue or take him too lightly, so his carelessness and overconfidence might cost his belt. Their rematch may be inevitable. Muchas gracias.

Promoter: Ohashi Promotions.

WBO supervisor: Jose Izquierdo (Puerto Rico).


Back to Oriental Boxing

Go to Top