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December 15, 2021

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‘Monster’ Inoue defends titles against Dipaen

Japan’s unbeaten “Monster” Naoya Inoue defended his WBA and IBF bantamweight titles yesterday with an eighth-round technical knockout win over unheralded Thai challenger Aran Dipaen in Tokyo.

Fighting at Ryogoku Kokugikan — the home of sumo — Inoue wore Dipaen down with a series of punishing shots before dispatching him with a vicious left hand. The bout, Inoue’s first in Japan for around two years, was widely seen as a stepping-stone towards an attempt at unifying all four bantamweight belts next year. But the 28-year-old was made to work hard for his win over Dipaen, who absorbed a series of heavy body blows with little visible impact. “He used to be a Muay Thai fighter and he brought that toughness,” Inoue said of Dipaen, who went into the fight with a 12-2 record. “I started to wonder whether my punches were having an effect — that’s how tough he was.” Inoue took his unbeaten record to 22-0, with 19 wins by knockout. Inoue has set his sights on unifying the bantamweight belts next year, with WBA champion Nonito Donaire and WBO title-holder John Riel Casimero, both of the Philippines, standing in his way.


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