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Naoya Inoue Sparks Debate With Comments On American Boxing Styles


Naoya Inoue’s comment about his victory over former WBC and WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton last year has stirred up some American fans.

The Japanese superstar ‘Monster’ Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs) said that he noted that Fulton (21-1, 8 KOs) didn’t like getting punched in the face in their clash in July of last year, and he’s not sure if it’s because he’s American.

Inoue has only fought two Americans in his career, Fulton and 36-year-old Nonito Donaire.

The Controversial Statement

“I don’t know if it’s because he’s American, but he doesn’t like getting punched in the face. Their boxing style is different from Japanese fighters who fight with Yamato-Damashii (Japanese spirit),” Naoya Inoue said to Ring Magazine, reacting to his eighth-round knockout of American Fulton last July in Japan.

Fulton, 29, looked like he couldn’t handle the power of Inoue, and it wouldn’t have mattered what area of the world he was from. Stephen being American had nothing to do with his loss. He couldn’t handle Inoue’s power.

Fulton has always been a finesse-level fighter, so you wouldn’t expect him to abandon that style to get involved in exchanges with Inoue or any fighter. That’s not his approach to winning because he’s not blessed with power.

The 30-year-old Japanese star Inoue seems to be saying here that American fighters try to avoid getting hit and avoid getting involved in punishing wars.

Nonito Donaire, an American, was involved in a brutal slugfest with Inoue and had him in trouble in their first fight in 2019. This was Donaire at 36. You can only imagine what a young version of Donaire would have done to Inoue. He would have surely beaten the Japanese star.

Interpretations and Rebuttals

Naoya’s remarks are generalizations based on his limited experience fighting Americans. His comments would hold more value if he’d actually fight more Americans, but he’s not doing that.

If Inoue would move up in weight to where Americans are fighting, he could find out if they’re hesitant to be hit in the face. Gervonta Davis, Abdulla Mason, and Raymond Muratalla would likely jump at the chance to test Inoue’s theory about Americans.

Some fans view Inoue’s decision to stay at 122 as a sign that he didn’t like the punishment he took in his recent fight against Marlon Tapales and is hesitant about going up to 126 to face the killers, Rey Vargas, Luis Lopez, and Rafael Espinoza.

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