On a magical Sunday night on October 7th, in front of a sold-out Yokohama Arena in Japan, Naoya Inoue knocked out former world champion Juan Carlos Payano with an electrifying one-two blow.
The official time was 1:10 of Round 1 of a hotly-anticipated 118 lb Ali Trophy Quarter-Final.
The crowd responded with a mixture of amazement and euphoria. And the shock waves thundered through the boxing world.
“His performance was absolutely incredible. It is simply a statement,” gushed Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer, Kalle Sauerland.
The ‘Monster’, rated No. 1 by The Ring at bantamweight, was already a name in the sport, an idol in his country, but his 70 seconds of fame in the World Boxing Super Series catapulted the red-hot star to the next level and up among the best pound for pound boxers in the world.
As a result of his international stardom, Inoue is the first Japanese fighter to feature on the cover of legendary The RING Magazine which saw its first edition published in 1922.
“I’m honored to be featured on the cover of The Ring magazine,” said Inoue at an official announcement in Japan on Tuesday, Nov. 27. “I believe this was the result of my boxing style being accepted worldwide.
“I have always wanted to be on the next level in Japanese boxing, so I’m happy that I accomplished one of my dreams. I don’t believe that I have become equal to the other big names like (Mike) Tyson, (Manny) Pacquiao or (Floyd) Mayweather (Jr.) yet, but The Ring magazine cover has taken me a step closer to those legends.”
The WBA Bantamweight World Champion faces Puerto Rico’s IBF Champion in the semi-final of the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the 118 lb edition of the World Boxing Super Series.
“I am looking forward to a spectacular semi-final,” said Inoue.
The World Boxing Super Series returns in 2019 with six sensational semi-final match-ups. Locations and venues will be announced in due course.
Photo by: Masa Ueda
WBSS Season 2 Semi-Finals:
Nonito Donaire vs Zolani Tete
Naoya Inoue vs Emmanuel Rodriguez
Regis Prograis vs Kiryl Relikh
Josh Taylor vs Ivan Baranchyk
Mairis Briedis vs Krzysztof Glowacki
Yunier Dorticos vs Andrew Tabiti