Naoya Inoue gets up off the canvas to halt Nery in Round 6

inoue vs nery

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inoue vs nery
inoue vs nery

Greetings and welcome to the Tokyo Dome for tonight’s highly anticipated bout between Mexican challenger Luis Nery and Naoya “Monster” Inoue. Boxing returns to the Big Egg for the first time since February 1990, when a 42-1 underdog called James “Buster” Douglas shocked then-unbeaten heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in one of the greatest shocks in sports history. A sellout crowd of around 55,000 people is anticipated.

Tyson is not Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs). In terms of his body of work and destructive nature, he is even better. The 31-year-old Kanagawa prefecture knockout artist has won three more world titles at 115, 118, and 122 pounds since taking home his first title at 108 pounds during his sixth professional fight in April 2014. He has a 21-0 record in world title bouts, with 19 of those bouts ending in the distance.

Most recently, Inoue defeated Paul Butler in December 2022 to unify all four bantamweight titles. He then stopped Stephen Fulton in his junior featherweight debut, fully unifying the belts at 122lbs with a stoppage of Marlon Tapales in December. All of this happened over the course of 378 days. After the legendary Kazuto Ioka, he is the only other guy from Japan to have won championships in four separate weight classes.

Nery (35-1, 27 KOs) is a former world champion in two weight classes who was the bantamweight and junior featherweight version of the WBC champion. After severely missing weight for his 2018 rematch against Shinsuke Yamanaka, the 29-year-old southpaw from Tijuana lost his bantamweight title. This resulted in an extended suspension in Japan, which was later removed.

He defeated Aaron Alameda in 2020 to become the two-weight champion, but in a championship unification match the following year, he was knocked out in the seventh round, suffering his first and only professional defeat.

Though he’s recovered well since then, having won four consecutive fights (including a memorable 11th-round knockout victory against Azat Hovhannisyan in one of the finest bouts of the year), he will start tomorrow as a 10-1 underdog on merit.

Before tonight’s main event, which is scheduled to begin at about 8.30 p.m. local time (7.30 am EDT/12.30 pm BST), there are three world championship bouts on the televised undercard. There will be a ton more before then!

The bell is there! In the orthodox-southpaw encounter, both men exchange blows right away. With malicious purpose, Inoue lunges right, but Nery neatly sidesteps it. Inoue makes a right-handed connection. Nery is throwing to the head and body, scoring seldom.

And Inoue collapses! For the first time in his career, Inoue is down! With a left hook to Inoue’s chin, Nery takes down the champion! He swiftly drops on one knee and outpaces the count. Nery, however, is closing in for the win. Inoue is caught in a tight spot by him. By flinging himself out of his, Inoue manages to reach the bell. What a beginning!

Punch statistics from Compubox show that Nery hit 15 of 52 shots in the first round whereas Inoue only hit 8 of 24. For the first two minutes of the round, everything goes according to plan until Inoue repays the favor by dropping Nery to the canvas with a hard left hook to the inside while backing up!

Nery moved forward, overextending himself, and Inoue used a left to catch him.

After his knockout, neither boxer seemed to be particularly wounded. But in the third, Inoue seemed to have found her groove. He is trying to counter with his left hand over the top while timing Nery’s right hand. If Nery wants to continue in this, he’s going to have to modify. Compubox reports that Inoue outlanded Nery in the second and third rounds by a score of 40 to 11.

Here in the fourth, Inoue’s special combination of strength, quickness, and footwork is clearly seen. He’s now showboating a bit in the middle of the ring, pointing to his jaw. Inoue is searching for that left hand to the midriff and is launching a lot of shots upstairs. Nery’s face is beginning to swell significantly.

Combination punches are being delivered by Inoue. We’re going to have a short night unless Nery makes a change shortly. Another brutal left hook from Inoue sends Nery to the deck, causing him to briefly lose his left hand! There are only 30 seconds remaining in the round. Can Nery compete with one of the best finishers in the sport? Nery will survive, thanks to the bell, even if Inoue is on the attack!

Early in the sixth, Nery is suffering much, but this one will soon come to an end. And Inoue uses his vicious right hand to drop Nery! Now that one is done, too! With a sixth-round technical knockout, Naoya Inoue has maintained his unchallenged junior featherweight title!

Whether it was sufficient for Inoue to surpass the unchallenged welterweight champion Terence Crawford at the top of boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings is debatable. It is, nevertheless, indisputable that there are now just two contenders in the race.

Prior to leaving the ring on Monday night, Inoue hinted that his next bout might take place in September against Australian fighter Sam Goodman, who is currently unbeaten and rated first among junior featherweight contenders by two of the four main boxing sanctioning bodies.

Inoue vs Nery
6th round knockout
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