By Keith Idec
Naoya Inoue’s handlers had difficulty finding an opponent willing to fight him Saturday night.
It didn’t take long to figure out why.
The unbeaten Inoue, nicknamed “The Monster,” made quick work of overmatched Frenchman Yoan Boyeaux in their scheduled 12-round fight for Inoue’s WBO super flyweight championship in Yokohama, Japan, Inoue’s hometown. The heavy-handed Inoue floored his opponent four times and battered Boyeaux into submission during the third round at Bunka Gym.
Referee Raul Caiz Jr. stopped their bout at 1:40 of the third round following the fourth knockdown of the brief bout. Inoue scored a knockdown during the first round and brutalized Boyeaux’s body on his way to three more knockdowns in the third round prior to the merciful stoppage.
Inoue landed a sharp left hook to Boyeaux’s body that caused him to take a knee 38 seconds into the third round. He got up and tried to move away from Inoue, but Inoue hit him with another left hook to body that forced Boyeaux down to one knee again 20 seconds later.
Boyeaux reached his feet again, only to have Inoue connect with a vicious right-left combination to the body that sent him to one knee again. Caiz quickly stepped in to halt the one-sided action after the third knockdown of the third round.
The 24-year-old Inoue (15-0, 13 KOs) successfully defended the WBO 115-pound championship for the seventh time on the three-year anniversary of his title win against Omar Narvaez. Inoue – generally regarded as one boxing’s best fighters, pound-for-pound – has said, however, that he plans to move up to bantamweight for his next bout.
The 29-year-old Boyeaux (41-5, 26 KOs, 1 NC) had not been knocked out before Inoue stopped him, but built his record largely against pedestrian opposition since making his pro debut eight years ago. Boyeaux is ranked No. 7 among the WBO’s contenders in the super flyweight division.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.