The boxing world is abuzz with anticipation as Naoya “The Monster” Inoue prepares to defend his four-belt undisputed championship at Super Bantamweight against Marlon Tapales. Scheduled for December 26 at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena, the bout promises fireworks, with Inoue (25-0, 22 KO) entering as the favorite.
Inoue, a sensation in the boxing world, has more than lived up to his nickname, “The Monster.” His phenomenal power and boxing prowess have seen him demolishing competitors, with no one going the distance against him since his tough battle against Nonito Donaire in 2019. That fight exposed Inoue a bit. Yet, his subsequent performances have been nothing short of dominant, with his power seemingly too much for any challenger.
Tapales (37-3, 19 KO), known for his resilience and spirit, recently made waves in the boxing community by snatching the WBC & WBO 122-lb titles from Murodjon Akhmadaliev. However, facing Inoue is a different proposition altogether. The 31-year-old Filipino’s punch resistance, which was questioned following his knockout loss to Ryosuke Iwasa in 2019, will be under severe scrutiny against Inoue’s formidable striking.
Inoue’s quest for greatness doesn’t stop here. Fans are eager for a potential move up in weight classes, eyeing a dream matchup against WBO featherweight champion Robeisy Ramirez. A victory over Tapales would reinforce Inoue’s legacy as a two-division undisputed champion and potentially set the stage for more historic achievements in higher divisions.
While Tapales harbors hopes of an upset, the spotlight remains firmly on Inoue. A victory here could lead to an incredible journey towards becoming a three or four-division undisputed champ, assuming he decides to continue to move up divisions. Whatever the future holds, as December 26, approaches, one thing is certain: The Monster is more than deserving of the hype surrounding him, and his journey continues to capture the eyes of boxing fans worldwide.
Inoue vs. Tapales will be available to stream on ESPN+ on December 26, 2023, presented by Top Rank.