Shingo’s Monster: The rise of Nayoa Inoue

By Cain Bradley on May 13, 2016
Shingo’s Monster: The rise of Nayoa Inoue
It took him less than a minute to drop Omar Narvaez with a straight right. (Naoki Fukuda)

Nayoa Inoue’s given nickname of “The Monster” is surprisingly apt given his propensity for dominating opponents…

In recent times many experts on boxing have been obsessed with a young, international fighter boxing at weights many fans do not pay attention to. That man is Roman Gonzalez, known as El Chocolatito. However, another man with the same profile is making similar waves. That man is the monster, Naoya Inoue. The Japanese phenom has gone from strength to strength and is hopeful that mega fights await. As an amateur he produced a record of 75-6. Most of this came as a junior as he turned professional not long after his 19th birthday. His two attempts at global competitions were the AIBA youth championships in 2010 and the amateur World Championships in 2011. Both of which he lost to Yosvany Veitia who has since gone on to win two World Championship medals.

Inoue would turn pro in 2012, joined the Ohashi Boxing club and jumped straight in at the deep end, promising never to take easy fights. He took on the Filipino Crison Omayao in an eight-round bout. Crison had won 14 of his 18 bouts but Inoue stopped him in the fourth round. A picture perfect left hook would stop Ngaoprajan Chuwatana before dominating Yuki Sano. In his fifth bout he would win the Japanese Light Flyweight title against world ranked Ryoichi Taguchi. He dominated a man who would go on to become WBA light flyweight champion winning a clear decision. In only his sixth fight he took on WBC light flyweight champion Adrian Hernandez. Hernandez was the number one ranked fighter at the weight and a tight technical puncher. He was taken apart by Inoue who hurt him in every single round, brutalizing Hernandez into a shell of himself. After one defense he decided to jump two weights to take on super flyweight champion Omar Narvaez. The two-weight World Champion had a record of 43 wins and 1 loss, a wide decision defeat by Nonito Donaire. Inoue tore through him in an unbelievable manner. It took him less than a minute to drop Narvaez with a straight right. It was the left hook which did the rest of the damage as he was dropped another three times. The fight was stopped in the second as Navarez crumpled from an outstanding body attack. A hand injury kept him out for a year but he has since made two defenses of his belt.

Inoue’s given nickname of “The Monster” is surprisingly apt given his propensity for dominating opponents. He has stopped all but two of his opponents. His size is pretty average at super flyweight but he seems to look bigger than his opponents. This was evident as soon as he moved up when he looked bigger than Omar Navarez. Part of this size is probably a mirage which comes from the sheer power of Inoue cutting his opponents down to size. Inoue has solid fundamentals with a lovely jab. He mixes it up well, alternating between rapidly firing off low impact jabs which tend to off balance his opponents and set up work and a long powerful jab (Round 1 2:05 vs. Parensa) which seems to travel a great distance. He is a speedy sort, especially on his feet which glide effortlessly, but this is trumped by his ridiculous power. He hurts opponents with a variety of shots. The left hook is short and separates people from their senses. You can just tell the power he strikes with when he begins to throw fakes. Opponents end up jumping far out of range (0:40 vs. Narvaez). He is as fluid as it gets throwing combinations that opponents do not see coming. His confidence and this fluidity means he throws strong combos from the bell, hurting Narvaez with a short left hook, right uppercut to the body after 19 seconds. The change in rhythm and disguises he uses helps him keep opponents constantly guessing. He shows the ability to box any style but chooses to be a stalker. He makes little movements to stay in range. He often works in spurts but can seemingly turn up the pace at any point. Probably the most impressive things about Inoue are his intelligence and boxing brain. He remains calm when his opponent is in trouble and does not resort to just jumping on his opponent. He used a terrific body attack and does not stray from it, even if he hurts opponents. A worry has to be the hands. He spent a year out from his original hand injury and revealed after his latest fight he hurt his hand in the second round. Despite the prognosis being quite good post fight, these injuries are concerning. Joe Calzaghe had problems with hand injuries throughout his career and changed his style because of it. Inoue is more powerful but if his hands cannot cope with the power then his style will adapt and evolve. The other issue may be his willingness to be hit. Inoue has shown no issues taking shots. His front hand swings low and he is not particularly active in blocking or parrying shots. The overhand right has proven capable of catching him (Narvaez 2:40).

Nayoa Inoue has already spoken of looking at challenging in higher weights. However, his coach and he have both mentioned staying at super flyweight for the next 18 months. This would mainly be in the hope of enticing Roman Gonzalez into a mega fight. Before that he will probably fight Omar Navarez next. Navarez may survive longer as he looks to avoid the power shots but it is difficult to see how he beats Inoue. The hope would be that he also manages to find time for a unification bout with Kohei Kano or Carlos Cuadras. Neither has fought anyone like Inoue and Inoue would likely stop either inside five. The mega fight with Gonzalez would likely draw eyeballs to the lighter weights. It is such an intriguing bout as Inoue is bigger, more athletic and looks to have more power. Gonzalez is the more experienced fighter with greater ring craft. Inoue being hittable probably would cost him in this bout as Gonzalez uses his exquisite footwork to take the fight where he wants it. I could see both fighters knocking each other down but Gonzalez currently takes a decision. But even in 18 months, Inoue would be only 24 and a loss would not be the end of the world. It could be just what he needs as he improves his defense. Inoue will still be under 30 in six years time. If he can continue to improve and keeps his promise of no easy fights we could see the young Japanese fighter go down as a legend. Manny Pacquaio was not much bigger than Inoue and it would not be a surprise if he made it all the way up to lightweight. You look up and down the weights and all the potential bouts that can be made and have to be excited. Shingo has created a monster in Nayoa Inoue and if he can protect his hands for years to come we will have an incredible fighter willing to take on all the biggest challenges. Strap in and enjoy the ride.

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Naoya Inoue vs Warlito Parrenas Full Fight KO



Naoya Inoue vs David Carmona Full Fight. The Monster



Omar Narvaez vs Naoya Inoue (English Commentary)



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  1. Cain Bradley 06:20am, 05/15/2016

    He did not look great but maybe he was not inspired by his opponent. He stepped on late. Defence has always been poor but he has got away with it so far

  2. Daniel Attias 04:47pm, 05/14/2016

    I’ve been a big fan of this kid for a while now, but I feel like he regressed a little against Carmona, I know he hurt his hand, but even before that he was getting hit far too often. His power is great but he needs to tighten up his defence.

    In saying that, one ‘poor’ performance in a bout he won fairly easily is probably just me setting the bar ultra-high for him. Regardless, I’m glued to my computer every time he fights. Bring on the Narvaez rematch, then hopefully a Cuadras unification, and ultimately a super-fight with Gonzalez.

  3. Cain Bradley 02:31pm, 05/13/2016

    He hits so hard, I am not surprised his hands have problems. Some guys never get over them like Joe Calzaghe. He is a very good boxer without the power but his style would probably have to change and his upside would not be the same.

    He injured his hand in the second and was probably worrying about protecting it.

  4. koolz 12:10pm, 05/13/2016

    Has to get his hand wrapping sorted out fast!

    He didn’t even come alive in the fight till about the seventh round.
    Then he became Ali style monster.

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