Monster Inoue gallery - all photos by Al Applerose
In Japan Naoya "Monster" Inoue is considered his country's most popular fighter. His arrival in the U.S. brought out many Japanese fans living in California and nearby. Here he greeted fans as he entered the boxing ring at the StubHub Center in the Los Angeles area.
It was immediately clear that Inoue has incredible speed and power as Antonio Nieves tried to keep pace with the WBO super flyweight world titlist.
Inoue showed he could fight inside or inside as he delivers an uppercut at close quarters against Nieves who was in full defensive mode for almost the entire fight. The fighter from Cleveland tried to find a way to solve the Japanese fighter's power and speed advantages but none could be found. It was a one-sided fight that kept getting more one-sided in favor of the "Monster."
Nieves was forced to cover up or eat punches from Inoue who showed early in the fight that his power is real.
After finding no openings to the head Inoue took his attack to the body and was able to land several vicious left hooks to the body. A well placed hook forced Nieves to one knee for a knockdown in the fifth round. The challenger beat the count but decided it was better to run than fight and proceeded to refuse to engage.
After Nieves began circling around the ring in full retreat the Japanese world champion raised both of his hands as if to say "Compadre, let's fight." It did not work.
After more running by Nieves the champion Inoue invited the challenger to fight one more time. But it was clear that running was preferred over fighting. After the sixth round Nieves corner told referee Lou Moret to stop the fight.
The stoppage at the end of the sixth round prompted referee Lou Moret to declare Naoya Inoue the winner by knockout at the end of round six. It's "Monster's first knockout win in America and he wants more. Perhaps a showdown with the WBC world titlist Sor Rungvisai or any of the other super flyweights who participated in "Superfly."