Naoya Inoue Makes History with Four-Weight Class Victory
In a remarkable display of skill and strength, Naoya Inoue (Ohashi Jim) secured an emphatic victory against Steven Fulton (USA) in the WBC/WBO world super bantamweight title match on July 25. With this win, Inoue became only the second Japanese boxer to conquer world titles in four weight divisions. Despite facing an opponent who had never been knocked down, Inoue’s exceptional ability proved superior in the super bantamweight division.
Prior to the fight, Naoya Inoue, also known as the “monster,” underwent rigorous training. On the day of the match, his cousin Hiroki Inoue (former WBO Asia-Pacific Super Lightweight Champion) observed his preparation and witnessed Naoya’s extraordinary techniques and tactics in the lead-up to moving up a weight class.
Reflecting on Naoya’s historic achievement, Hiroki shared his emotional reaction, stating, “I cried. It was evident that Naoya carried a different kind of worry this time. My emotions ran wild.”
When asked about Naoya’s anxiety, Hiroki responded, “I believe he possesses an unwavering determination to triumph, regardless of the circumstances. It may not be evident to those who only see him in the ring.”
Undoubtedly, stepping up a weight class to face Fulton, a unified champion, imposed immense pressure and anxiety. Hiroki acknowledged this, saying, “Indeed, there was a lot at stake. Fulton has a larger physique, an explosive spring, and utilizes his footwork to deliver a relentless long-range jab. These factors presented an unfamiliar challenge for Naoya, accompanied by a sense of uncertainty.”
When questioned about his sentiments regarding Naoya’s chances of winning, Hiroki described their conversation, “It was a typical exchange without excessive encouragement or excitement. He said, ‘I cannot take responsibility, but it will be fine.'”
During the match, Naoya experienced a knockdown in the eighth round. Recounting the moment, Hiroki vividly remembers anxiously watching near the ring stairs, stating, “I jumped up when I saw the athlete stumble. Needless to say, my heart pounded for days thereafter (laughs).”
Naoya Inoue’s awe-inspiring feat has undoubtedly left a profound impact on the world of boxing, solidifying his position as a formidable force and etching his name in the annals of history.
Hiroki Inoue talks about Naoya Inoue’s match at Fulton Part 1
Naoya Inoue (Ohashi Jim) defeated Steven Fulton (USA) by eight times TKO in the WBC/WBO world super bantamweight title match on July 25, becoming the second Japanese man to win world titles in four weight classes. The opponent in the first match, who rose one class, was Fulton, the united champion of both teams who had never been down. Some people expected a tough fight, but it was a match that proved that Inoue’s strength is outstanding even in the super bantamweight division.
He trained with Naoya Inoue, and on the day of the match, he was second, and showed the unexpected side of the “monster” to his cousin Hiroki Inoue (former WBO Asia-Pacific Super Lightweight Champion) during the preparation for move up the weight class We asked about the advanced techniques and tactics seen in the Fulton game, and the moment of conquering the four classes.
Naoya Inoue hugs his father and trainer Shingo after winning a TKO against Fulton
[Yn anarferol cyn y gêm, “Alla i ennill?”]
――How did you feel when Naoya won all 4 weight classes?
“I cried. Unlike before, I felt that Naoya was worried. Many emotions exploded inside me.”
――Did Naoya have anxiety?
“I think I have a very strong desire to win no matter what. You wouldn’t think so if you only saw it there.”
――Does it mean there’s a lot of pressure and anxiety about moving up one weight class and fighting Fulton, who has united the two teams?
“I think it is. It may be a new challenge to move up the weight class, but Fulton has a big body, he has spring and he uses his legs to follow a long jab, which is what I have fought so far. a type of player who had no sense of humour, and there were a lot of things I didn’t understand until I faced him, so I think I was worried.”
— “Can you win? How did Hiroki answer when asked?
“It’s like, ‘I can’t take responsibility, but it’s okay.’ It’s the same conversation as usual, without excessive encouragement or excitement.”
―― Then the match started and Naoya was knocked down in the 8th round.
“At that moment, I was watching the athlete in front of the stairs going up to the ring, and I jumped there. And it was swollen for a few days (laughs).”
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