- Naoya Inoue faced Marlon Tapales in front of his home fans on Boxing Day
- Inoue stopped his game opponent in the 10th round of their world title fight
Naoya Inoue became the undisputed super-bantamweight champion on Boxing Day after stopping Filipino southpaw Marlon Tapales in the 10th round in front of his adoring fans in Tokyo.
Inoue, who has earned the nickname ‘The Monster’ entered the contest as the overwhelming favourite but was made to work hard by his game opponent.
After flooring Tapales in the closing seconds of the fourth round, Inoue had to wait another six rounds before the fight was eventually waved off.
The 30-year-old’s victory extended his professional record to 26-0, with 23 wins coming by knockout.
He also created history by becoming just the second fighter to be recognised as an undisputed champion in two weight classes during the four-belt era.
Naoya Inoue (right) was made to work hard by Marlon Tapales (left) in their Boxing Day bout
Inoue finally claimed the stoppage win in the 10th round in Tokyo as the referee stepped in
He is now the undisputed super-bantamweight champion, just 12 months after holding all four titles at bantamweight
Terence Crawford achieved the feat in July when he beat Errol Spence to claim all four welterweight titles, after he previously ruled the super-lightweight division back in 2017.
Inoue has now matched this achievement, but did it in a much shorter timeframe, having only won the last of his four bantamweight straps last December against Britain’s Paul Butler.
Twelve months on, he has cleaned up the super-bantamweight division in the space of two fights.
He produced a dazzling performance in July to halt America’s Stephen Fulton inside eight rounds, collecting two belts in the process, and broke down Tapales on Boxing Day to complete the set of titles.
Inoue is now a four-weight world champion, and there has been talk that he could jump up to another division in the near future.
But he is expected to stay in the 122lb division for a little longer to potentially face his WBC mandatory challenger Luis Nery in May before considering a switch to featherweight.