Naoya Inoue is finished with the bantamweight division but is far from done with chasing history.
The unbeaten three-division champ became the first-ever Japanese boxer to claim undisputed championship status in the three- or four-belt era following his eleventh-round knockout of Paul Butler. Inoue added the WBO title to his collection that already included the lineal, WBA, WBC and IBF bantamweight titles following his one-sided destruction of England’s Butler on Tuesday at Ariake Arena in Tokyo.
It was no secret that the fight would be the last as a bantamweight for Inoue (24-0, 21KOs), having previously told BoxingScene.com of his desire to become at least a four-division champion. Now that he’s established immortality for his beloved country, the goal now is to add to his lead.
“I will aim to do the same at super bantamweight,” Inoue told BoxingScene.
Inoue’s knockout of Butler wrapped up a dominant reign which saw the 29-year-old Yokohama native go 9-0 at the weight including 7-0 in primary title fights. It’s the lone division in which Inoue successfully unified, having held the WBC junior flyweight and WBO junior bantamweight titles though unable to land the other titleholders in the ring.
It wasn’t an issue at bantamweight, where he collected every belt in wins over four reigning titleholders. The move to 118 also saw Inoue claim top honors in the World Boxing Super Series. He entered with the secondary WBA title, leaving with three wins along with the WBA ‘Super’ and IBF belts along with the distinction as one of the very best fighters in the world.
With history achieved, it’s now time to pursue the next challenge.
“I plan to move up in weight,” confirmed Inoue. “When I do move up in weight to super bantamweight, I don’t think I will come back down.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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