By Keith Idec
The legend of Naoya Inoue grew Sunday.
Japan’s Inoue, nicknamed “The Monster,” knocked out Juan Carlos Payano with a crushing right hand just 70 seconds into their scheduled 12-round, 118-pound championship match in Yokohama, Japan, Inoue’s hometown. Inoue connected with a jab before blasting Payano with a perfect straight right hand that dumped Payano flat on his back and unable to continue.
Referee Pinit Prayadsab immediately stopped their fight just 1:10 into the first round at Yokohama Arena.
The 25-year-old Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) made the first defense of the WBA world bantamweight title he won by stopping Jamie McDonnell in the first round of his previous fight. He also advanced to the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series’ 118-pound tournament.
In the next round, on a date and at a site to be determined, Inoue will face the winner of the Emmanuel Rodriguez-Jason Moloney quarterfinal for Rodriguez’s IBF title October 20 in Orlando, Florida.
The 34-year-old Payano (20-2, 9 KOs), a former WBA/IBO bantamweight champion, lost by knockout for the first time since making his pro debut eight years ago. The Dominican Republic’s Payano previously lost only a majority decision to Rau’shee Warren in their bantamweight title unification fight in June 2016.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.