By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Boxing Beat
How will you evaluate a hot young prospect’s talent? Probably strange enough, in Japan, our boxing fraternity traditionally judges his vast talent with how quickly he reaches the world throne. There have been competitions of their quick reach to the top, as follows: Kazuto Ioka (seventh pro bout), Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (8), Nobuo Nashiro (8), Yoko Gushiken (9), and Hiroki Ioka (9). For your reference, the very quickest is Saensak Muangsurin of Thailand, ex-Muaythai superstar, who acquired the WBC super-light belt from Perico Fernandez in his just third professional bout in 1975.
Highly talented 19-year-old Naoya Inoue, 108.25, made a very impressive debut as he stunned the sellout crowd with a beautiful knockout of current Philippine champ Crison Omayao (12-5-1, 4 KOs), 108, at 2:04 of the fourth round in a scheduled eight on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan. Before the bout, the victor’s manager/promoter and formerly two-time world champ Hideyuki Ohashi had recklessly said, “Inoue may not only make the Japanese mark of the earliest seizure of the world belt but tie the world record of Muangsurin by winning the title in his third.”
Inoue, the enfant terrible, showed his composure, accurately jabbed and quickly downed the OPBF#7 opponent with a straight right to the stomach in the opening round. The shorter Omayao often threw roundhouse left hooks, which Inoue averted with ease and countered well with his solid rights to the face. The baby faced Japanese was in complete command in rounds two and three, when Inoue toyed with the Filipino champ and connected with stinging lefts with precision. Midway in the fatal fourth, Inoue swarmed over the battered victim and dug a vicious left uppercut into the solar plexus, which badly sank Omayao in agony for the count. We agree that the youngster can punch with either hand. Inoue’s debut gatehred so many customers as we haven’t lately seen at the Korakuen Hall.
Inoue had been an Olympian-to-be that eventually failed to go to London and win a belt. Even the gold medalist in the middleweight category in London, Ryota Murata described Inoue as a monster because of his strength and power punching while training together. Inoue won seven amateur championships and compiled a fine mark of 75-6, 48 stoppages. But he was so unfortunate that he lost in the third round of the world championship to a Cuban opponent by a 15-12 tally and failed to acquire the right to participate in the Olympic Games, losing a 16-11 close verdict to Zhakypov in the final of Asian Games in Kazakhstan. He missed a last Olympic ticket left to London. Then, he promptly made a decision to enter paid ranks.
In Japan, when you are granted a professional license, you have to take tests of sparring and answering to questions on the rules by writing. Inoue’s sparring was made against current Japanese national light-flyweight champ, WBC#13 Masayuki Kuroda, whom the rookie beat up to the punch to show his ballyhooed strength.
After his successful debut, his eloquent manager/promoter Ohashi changed his mind. “Forget about his world domination in the third pro bout. He is such a bright genius that we hope him to be a world champ for ten years. We need not rush so quickly.” That’s right. Inoue, still 19, need not surpass Muangsurin. Life is long. Step by step.
Promoter: Ohashi Promotions.