On the docket for combat sports viewing this weekend is the return of Japanese bantamweight Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) as he takes on IBF champion Manny Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series.
For those who don’t know, Inoue is known as “The Monster” because he is a whirlwind of violence. I make the case that right now, he might not be the best boxer or necessarily the hardest puncher (even relative to weight class), but he is the most exciting boxer today.
Inoue is a prodigious talent who’s only been a pro since 2012 and has won major titles in two weight classes, with his sights set on a third this weekend. He has not been facing a stream of unknowns and no-hopers in his divisions. In his last two fights — the only ones he’s had at 118 lbs — he wiped out former champions Juan Carlos Payano and Jamie McDonnell in one round. Neither one of them had ever been knocked out before, and Inoue bulldozed them like they were not worthy of his presence. In just his eighth pro fight, he ended the long reign of then-WBO 112 lbs champion Omar Narvaez in two rounds.
He is an offensive machine that no one thus far has been able to counter. His body punching is absolutely lethal, and his combinations are scary accurate and fast. At the top of the page, you can watch all 15 KO wins by Inoue, and I promise you it’s worth your time.
The winner of Inoue vs. Rodriguez will face Nonito Donaire in the tournament final later this year. It’ll serve as the co-main event to Josh Taylor vs. Ivan Baranchyk, which is part of the WBSS semifinals for the 140 lbs division. Both bouts will be shown live on DAZN from Scotland on Saturday, May 18th.