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Naoya Inoue Vs. Paul Butler – Preview For Tokyo Undisputed Clash

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By Jake Tiernan: IBF, WBA & WBC bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue meets WBO champion Paul Butler for the undisputed championship tomorrow night, on December 13th, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan. The event will be shown on ESPN+ in the U.S., beginning at 5:00 A.M. ET.

The undercard for the Inoue vs. Butler fight is barren of compelling fights. It’s one of the most empty cards that this writer can remember seeing. Aside from the main event, the undercard is a virtual ghost town in terms of exciting fights.


Yoshiki Takei vs. Bruno Tarimo
Andy Hiraoka vs. Min Ho Jung
Takuma Inoue vs. Jake Bornea
Satoshi Shimizu vs. Landy Cris Leon
Hironori Miyake vs. Peter McGrail

This is expected to be the last fight for Inoue at 118 before he moves up to 122 to go after the four titles in that weight class. Inoue struggled to make weight on Monday, which is a sign that he’s outgrown the super bantamweight division at 29.

Interestingly, there’s been almost no promotion of the Inoue vs. Butler fight in the United States. If you’re not looking hard, you wouldn’t even know these two are fighting tomorrow night in Tokyo.

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What hurts the interest in the fight is that Butler isn’t a big star; he’s pretty old and has little power. The deck is stacked against Butler, and the only chance he has of winning is if he hangs around long enough to wear down the 29-year-old Inoue.

‘Monster’ Inoue is accustomed to knocking out his opponents early in his fights, and he does not like to get hit. When Inoue does get nailed with shots, he looks visibly angry and seems to get flustered.

When Inoue fought David Carmona in 20016 and Nonito Donaire in 2019, he appeared stressed about taking punishment from these fighters. Those fights showed that Inoue doesn’t react well to getting hit back by his opponents.

You can argue that if Inoue weren’t a massive puncher with blinding speed, he’d be an average fighter with a mediocre record. Again, Inoue does not react well to getting hit and seems to lack the toughness of fighters that take a fair amount of shots in their fights.

Knowledgable boxing fans view this fight as a massacre that will be taking place, as Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs) is on another level than the light-hitting 34-year-old Butler (34-2, 15 KOs).

The former three-division world champion Inoue will be looking to take Butler’s head off from the jump, and it’ll be interesting to see what the British fighter can do to keep that from happening.


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