It was brief but destructive. Nightfall had arrived in Tokyo when Naoya “Monster” Inoue spectacularly announced his arrival into the bantamweight division.
Jamie McDonnell of England had no answer as he was over-powered and stopped inside the opening round by his sensational looking opponent.
The WBA “Regular” 118lb title changed hands but more importantly Inoue secured his place in the upcoming WBSS bantamweight tournament which will begin later this year.
Before the fight started there was a bit of chatter on Twitter with more than one account familiar with the Asian boxing scene reporting that McDonnell had scaled close to 144lbs prior to entering the ring. From weighing 118lbs yesterday that perhaps indicated just how drained he was to hit the bantamweight number at the weigh-in. Inoue was reported to be around 130lbs entering the ring but when the fight began none of that mattered.
After a lengthy period of introductions the opening bell sounded and Inoue spent the first 40 seconds having a look at McDonnell who seemed happy to keep his distance while pawing a few jabs in the direction of the home fighter. Inoue suddenly changed the pedestrian nature of proceedings by closing the gap in a flash and landing a left jab to the body. McDonnell moved back and Inoue was on him instantly, unloading lefts and rights as McDonnell backed up in one of the neutral corners. Inoue then reset and after another 30 seconds of having a look caught McDonnell with an overhand left on the top of the head. The visiting fighter was staggered and Inoue moved in. McDonnell ducked to avoid a right to the head but this motion brought him straight into the path of the left hook to the body Inoue was throwing as a follow up. McDonnell was down and although he rose after seven seconds it was already looking ominous for him.
Retreating to the ropes as Inoue moved in again McDonnell was now in survival mode. He had no answer as Inoue unloaded a barrage of left and right power shots, mixing up the punches cleverly as he sensed the end was near. McDonnell was on his way to the canvas again when the referee waved the contest off. Less than two minutes had elapsed.
It was a chilling demonstration of power from Inoue. He was clinical without ever looking rushed. He was accurate without ever looking like he couldn’t time McDonnell perfectly. It was impressive to witness.
McDonnell was visibly upset in his corner after the bout – no doubt devastated by the manner of his defeat but he has nothing to be ashamed of. Naoya Inoue is coming into his prime now and whoever faces him in the near future is in for a rough night’s work. It was the first time in his 33 fight career that McDonnell had been stopped.
The TV feed that I was watching (Sky Sports) ended their broadcast with some post fight comments from McDonnell. They said McDonnell reported being physically fine and while he didn’t want to take anything away from Inoue he would be moving up in weight as the struggle to make 118lbs was now too great. There were no quotes from Inoue given but it was confirmed that he is in the WBSS bantamweight tournament.
And what a tournament it should be. Inoue joins Ryan Burnett, Manny Rodriguez and Zolani Tete in an event that already has a truly global feel about it. Four different continents are represented by the confirmed participants – this truly will be a tournament for the entire world.
While that is all to come today’s fight will be remembered for “Monster” living up to that nickname and enhancing his growing reputation as a fighter you have to watch. Inoue (16-0-0, 14KOs) really does look like he will terrorise his new weight class. The great thing is within the next twelve months we should get to find out. His fellow elite 118lb fighters know he is coming. There will be no hiding place once the tournament format gets started. Roll on September for the commencement of the WBSS bantamweight edition!