Naoya Inoue

Japan’s Naoya “The Monster” Inoue Invades L.A.


By David A. Avila

Japan’s Naoya Inoue arrived this week behind an almost whispered reputation as his country’s most feared warrior.

Don’t be fooled by his almost boyish disposition. Many consider “Monster” Inoue the one.

Inoue (13-0) defends the WBO super flyweight title against Cleveland’s Antonio Nieves (17-1-2) on Saturday Sept. 9, at the StubHub Center in Carson. HBO will televise the impressive boxing card called “Superfly.”

Several of the best super flyweights in the world converge to eliminate each other on Saturday.

Since the 1960s warriors from Japan have found Southern California to their liking. Fighters like Sho Saijo would arrive in Los Angeles and battle at the Olympic Auditorium against L.A. based prizefighters such as Frankie “Irish” Crawford, Jose Pimentel and former world champion Raul Rojas.

It was against Rojas that Japan’s Saijo captured the world title in September 1968 at the Olympic Auditorium. Those were rollicking times as the two countries presented their best and fans flocked to see it.

Fans will definitely flock to this event too

Inoue follows in that same great tradition of talented Japanese warriors.

“He’s a sensation from Japan with a lot of talent. I know he’s going to put on a good show,” said Fernando Beltran one of the co-promoters of the event.

The congregation of 115-pound super flyweights represents several current and former world champions including Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez who trained in Indio, Calif. The others are WBC super flyweight titlist Sor Rungvisai, former champions Juan Francisco Estrada, Carlos Cuadras, and Brian Viloria. 

It’s one of the few times anywhere in the world this division has collected this many on one fight card.


Daniel Roman wins WBA world title in Japan

After several years battling local talent at Ontario’s Doubletree Hotel, the Los Angeles-based Daniel Roman traveled to Kyoto, Japan and dethroned WBA Shun Kubo by knockout in that fighter’s hometown on Sunday.

It marked a tremendous leap by Roman.

Roman, 27, is no stranger to boxing fans in the Inland Empire. The boxer known as “Baby-Faced Assassin” fought a total of 18 times in front of audiences in Ontario and Corona. He also fought twice in Orange County.

Promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions, the new super bantamweight champion showed remarkable improvement from year to year. The graduation of Roman from a novice four round fighter to a full-fledged world champion can be equated to the creation of a great sculpture.

The 12-round WBA championship fight took place at the Shimazu Arena in Kyoto, Japan. Roman is trained and managed by Eddie Gonzalez and exclusively promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions. 

In his fight with Kubo on Sunday, he battered the taller fighter to the body relentlessly before knocking him down twice in the seventh and eighth rounds. Roman did not allow the Japanese world champion to regain composure and finished with a flurry of blows including a long right cross that forced the referee to end the fight at 1:21 of the ninth round.

"I said before the fight that I didn't intend for this to go to the judges," Roman said. "The plan was to knock him out and take the WBA title in dominating fashion."

Roman originally from Los Angeles, now lives in Garden Grove and spent more than a week in Japan in advance of his world title bid.

"It's a dream come true," said Roman.