By Jake Donovan
With his brilliant display of power punching over an incumbent champ, Naoyo Inoue now claims title status in his second weight class, with possibly much more to come in the next few days.
Four knockdowns paved the way for a 2nd round knockout of Omar Narvaez in the headlining act Tuesday evening at Metropolitan Gym in Tokyo, Japan.
Despite lengthy title reigns at flyweight and super flyweight, Narvaez is sadly best remembered by most casual fans of the sport for his 12-round track meet with Nonito Donaire in Oct. '11. The night produced the lone loss of his career, though his constant moving also showed - in part - Donaire's inability to cut off a ring and effectively contend with a fighter who doesn't stand directly in front of him.
There was never any such issue for Inoue, the 21-year old wunderkind who in just two years as a pro has already taken the sport by storm. He also took Narvaez by storm - and surprise - attacking from the opening bell and never giving the visiting 39-year old a chance to get untracked.
Normally a durable soldier, Narvaez found himself on the canvas less than a minute into the fight. A pair of overhand rights willed him to the deck, where he was forced to take a mandatory eight count. The night would only get worse for the Argentine southpaw, who found himself down on the canvas later in the round when a left hook to the temple threw off his balance.
The only saving grace to be found for Narvaez was that he was able to make it out of the opening round. It became abundantly clear, however, that he wasn't going to leave Japan with his title still in tow. The only remaining question was whether he'd last all 12 rounds, or if Inoue would find a way to close the show.
That answer would come three minutes and two more knockdowns later.
With history well in sights, Inoue refused to let his opponent off the hook. A flurry early in round two raised the level of excitement in the crowd, who spent much of the bout chanting "Na-O-Ya!"
Narvaez enjoyed a rare moment of offense, scoring with a jab and then a right hand upstairs, although the sequence had no impact on Inoue. The third knockdown of the fight came moments later, as Inoue scored with a check hook to force the soon-to-be-ex-champion to a knee.
Body shots were key in providing the fight's closing sequence. A left hook to the body froze Narvaez in his tracks for Inoue to land a right hand up top before going back to the body. Narvaez paused along the ropes before dropping to his knees in a delayed reaction.
His night would end on the canvas, as referee Lou Moret counted him out.
The official time was 2:59 of round two.
At just 21 years young, there seems to be no limit to the heights Inoue can soar. The prodigious boxer moves to 8-0 (7KOs) with the title winning effort, which came two full weight divisions above his previous fighting weight at 108 lb. Title wins in two separate weight classes after just eight pro fights is also a world record.
Narvaez' championship reign comes to an end as he falls to 43-2-2 (23KOs). Separate title reigns at flyweight and super flyweight bridged a 12-year span for the 39-year old, who is now without a belt for the first time since 2002.
Given the general availability of belts these days, it's possible Tuesday evening was not his last at the title level.
It's also entirely possible that more belts are in Inoue's future. The win likely clinched Fighter of the Year honors (BoxingScene.com to announce the prize later this week) for the rising superstar, who in a span of eight months claimed title wins over the #1 fighter in each of his two weight classes conquered.
Earlier this year, Inoue claimed his first title in just his 6th pro bout, tearing through Adrian Hernandez in six one-sided rounds. His lone defense of the belt came in September, stopping a determined Samartiek Kokietgym in 11 rounds.
In the televised co-feature, Pedro Guevara stopped Akira Yaegahi in seven rounds to claim a vacant 108 lb. title. A body shot put Yaegashi (20-5, 10KOs) - a former two-division champ - down and out for the full ten-count. The full recap can be found
Both bouts aired live on Fuji TV in Japan. The main event also aired live on Argentina's TyC Sports.
Earlier in the evening (full earlier undercard report
Jorge Linares (38-3, 25KOs) picked up a third title in as many weight classes with a 4th round stoppage of Javier Preito (24-9-2, 18KOs). A counter right hand landed on Prieto's eardrum to put him down and out.
Ryota Murata (6-0, 4KOs) scored a 12-round shutout over Maryland's Jessie Nicklow (24-5-3, 8KOs). Scores were 100-90 (twice) and 100-91 for Murata, who captured Olympic Gold for Japan in the 2012 London Olympics.
Ryo Matsumoto (13-0, 11KOs) stopped Rusalee Samor in the 12th and round of their regional super flyweight bout. It was a labor of love for the 20-year old Matsumoto, who had to dig much deeper than was required in his two-round drilling of Denkaosan Kaovichit in September.
Opening up the night of the Inoue vs. Narvaez family feud was a matchup between the main player's younger siblings. 19-year young Takuma Inoue (4-0, 1KOs) already looks to be a player following an eight-round shutout over former title challenger Nestor Narvaez (20-3-2, 9KOs) in their super flyweight bout. Scores were 80-72 (twice) and 80-73.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox