Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Connor O'Neill

Naoya Inoue stops Paul Butler to become undisputed bantamweight champion

Naoya Inoue produced another brutal knockout blow to end Paul Butler's hopes of becoming boxing's first undisputed bantamweight champion in 50 years.

Butler had earned plenty of plaudits ahead of the fight for agreeing to travel to Inoue's backyard just seven months after being upgraded to WBO champion. The 34-year-old became a world champion for the second time in his career in May when he was elevated from interim to full WBO champion status after former title holder John Riel Casimero was stripped of the belt

Nicknamed the 'Monster', Inoue, who held the WBA, WBC and IBF titles ahead of the fight, came into the contest at the Ariake Arena as the significant favourite, and he dominated from the first bell, with Butler unable to land any significant blows. Inoue backed up Butler for the first-half of the contest, mixing up his offence with spiteful hooks to the body and straight shots to the head.

READ MORE: James Metcalf eyes 2023 world title showdown after stopping Courtney Pennington

READ MORE: Anfield could get huge boxing first if megafight rematch comes to fruition

Butler’s focus was largely on maintaining a high guard and relying on lateral movement to steer clear of Inoue, which frustrated the 29-year-old the more the fight went on. But the Japanese star, who was fighting in his 19th world championship bout in a row, continued to invest in painful body shots.

And Butler was eventually put down, with just under two minutes of the 11th round remaining, following a vicious combination of punches.. After falling to the canvas, Butler shook his head as he attempted to rise from his knees, before lying flat on his back as referee Bence Kovacs waved off the contest.

And even though the 'Baby Faced Assassin' didn’t manage to write the Rocky story he wanted to in Tokyo, it was the first time Inoue had been taken beyond eight rounds since his 2019 victory over Nonito Donaire.

"This is the proudest moment of my career," Inoue said in the ring after his win. "I am honoured to become undisputed champion at bantamweight.”


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.