Nayoa Inoue eyes May return after being crowned undisputed king at 122-pounds – Ring News 24 | Boxing News

Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales. Photo credit: Sky Sports

Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue 26-0 (23) is the undisputed world champion at super bantamweight after knocking out Marlon ‘Nightmare’ Tapales 37-4 (19) in the 10th round at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday night.

The 30-year-old Japanese superstar looked en route to an early stoppage win after building an early lead over the first three rounds before dropping Filipino southpaw Tapales, 31, in the fourth with a combination on the ropes.

Tapales, who had boxed a defensively responsible fight up until that point, seemed to be woken up by the knockdown and took a more aggressive stance through the middle rounds of the fight.

His timely counterpunching limited Inoue to single digits in landed punches in rounds seven and eight according to CompuBox, after Inoue had strung together five consecutive rounds of double digit lands. Tapales’ success created more openings for Inoue, who landed 23% of his jabs and 43% of his power punches, compared to 10% and 20% for Tapales.

A two punch combination in the 10th stiffened Tapales’ legs before Inoue delivered the coup de grace, a right hand finisher that sent him crashing to the canvas for the second time in the bout. Try as he might, Tapales was unable to get up and referee Celestino Ruiz counted him out at the 1:02 mark.

It was the type of clinical performance we have come to expect from Inoue, who has held world titles in four different weight classes. At the time of the stoppage Inoue was leading 88-82, 90-80 and 89-81 on the judges’ scorecards.

“I appreciate Tapales having accepted this ultimate unification bout. He was courageous and durable. But he finally collapsed with his accumulation of punishment,” Inoue said.

With the win Inoue, who has not fought a non-title bout in more than a decade, joins Terence Crawford, Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields as undisputed champions who have reigned over two divisions.

Now with four belts in his possession, Inoue will have challengers coming at him from all directions. Australia’s Sam ‘The Ghost’ Goodman 17-0 (7) is the IBF and WBO mandatory contender, while Murodjon Akhmadaliev 12-1 (9) holds the top spot with the WBA and Luis Nery 35-1 (27) is the number one guy with the WBC.

Inoue revealed he is already in discussions for his next bout, although he would not reveal who that is likely to be against.

“We plan to return to the ring in May,” Inoue said. “We can’t really discuss who that might be since we are in negotiations.”

Inoue becames the WBC and WBO champion when he knocked out American Stephen Fulton 21-1 (8) in eight rounds in Tokyo, Japan in July.

Tapales was coming off an upset split decision win over Uzbek southpaw Akhmadaliev in San Antonio, Texas in April that saw him annex the WBA and IBF titles.

Inoue was crowned the Ring Magazine champion with his win over Tapales after previously holding the prestigious title at bantamweight.