Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales full card results as ‘The Monster’ becomes two-weight undisputed king

Is there a better boxer in the world than Naoya Inoue?

The Japanese superstar produced another performance of masterful destruction to become a two-weight undisputed champion, stopping Marlon Tapales in 10 rounds to add the IBF and WBA super bantamweight titles to his WBC and WBO belts.

Inoue is the second man in the four-belt era to become a two-weight undisputed king after Terence Crawford demolished Errol Spence earlier this year. 

Crawford and Inoue stand above everyone else in boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings and, like the master American pugilist, Inoue’s greatness deserve to be appreciated across boxing’s wider history; not simply within the parameters of our modern-day alphabet spaghetti mess.

WATCH: Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales, exclusively on ESPN+

A little over a year ago, Inoue beat Paul Butler to become undisputed bantamweight champion and wasted no time in cleaning out the 122 lbs category.

Tapales had more success than American Stephen Fulton, who Inoue obliterated in eight rounds in July, and recovered well from a fourth-round knockdown.

However, a couple of heavy right hands that the Filipino partially blocked left him scrambled and unable to adequately respond to the count one minute and two seconds into round 10 at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena.

WATCH: Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales, exclusively on ESPN+

Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales full card results

  • Naoya Inoue (c) def. Marlon Tapales (c) to retain the WBC and WBO and win the IBF and WBA  super bantamweight titles
  • Seiya Tsutsumi def. Kazuki Anaguchi (UD 10) to retain the Japanese Boxing Commission super bantamweight title
  • Andy Hiraoka def. Sabastian Diaz (TKO 5/8); super lightweights
  • Yoshiki Takei def. Mario Diaz Maldonado (KO 2/8); super bantamweights
  • Kanamu Sakama def. John Paul Gabunilas (TKO 5/8); flyweights
  • Fuga Uematsu def. Suguru Ishikawa (TKO 4/4); featherweights
  • Rikiya Sato def. Keisuke Endo (UD 4); super featherweights

Four-belt era? Naoya Inoue’s brilliance would shine in any era

Despite all the obvious flaws, there are things to be said in favour of boxing’s four-belt era. Dangerous, avoided fighters are far less likely to be politicked out of a shot at world honours and unification matchups are an uncomplicated way of demonstrating the best are fighting the best. Indeed, promoters have clearly recognised this over recent years, with the number of undisputed fights increasing exponentially.

Inoue has been a beneficiary of this, cleaning out bantamweight and super bantamweight with his textbook brutality. But there are other measures of his greatness that we should not forget. When he beat Butler, he became the first undisputed bantamweight king for 50 years. He is now the first Ring Magazine champ at 122 lbs since the esteemed Cuban technician Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2016.

As he showed once again against Tapales, Inoue is not just about raw power, even if 23 KOs in 26 wins is a terrifying return. He has been able to carry his knockout capacity up through the weights because his skills and abilities when it comes to manoeuvring himself and his opponents into positions of maximum destruction are more or less unparalleled. Early on, it looked like single concussive shots might be enough, but Tapales’ mid-fight switch to a snaking jab and shoulder-rolling defence presented “The Monster” with a new equation. He cracked it by doubling on right hands. Tapales tucked up his guard high once more and had the fight beaten out of him.

Will Naoya Inoue fight Gervonta Davis?

No. And why on earth should he? Davis has voiced his admiration for Inoue’s skills and the Japanese sensation’s spectacular run in the lower weights has prompted some talk about whether he could step up a few more divisions and tangle with “Tank”.

Sensibly, in his post-fight interview, Inoue stated he wished to remain at super bantamweight and defend his titles in 2024. Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who Tapales beat via a split decision to win his belts, got back in the win column against Kevin Gonzalez last time out and feels like an obvious next opponent. After that, perhaps Inoue, 30, can try his hand at featherweight.

Beyond that, there is no point in magnificent champion taking on the sort of contests that weight classes preclude for a reason. He’s already given so much to rule across four divisions. If the mainstream US audience hasn’t bothered to get in on this because Inoue boxes predominantly in Japan and started out as a light flyweight, then I’m afraid that’s on them at this stage.

How to watch Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales: TV channel, live stream

Region TV channel Live streaming
USA ESPN ESPN+
Canada TSN+
UK and Ireland Sky Sports Darts Sky GO
Australia TBC

Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales price: How much does the fight cost? 

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