WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia 32-0 (26) had a tougher than expected battle against previously undefeated Takeshi Inoue 13–1-1 (7) in a 12-round war at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday night.
The teak-tough Inoue came forward all night, initiating many exciting exchanges against the heavy-handed but defensively limited champion. In the end though it was Munguia’s superior firepower than made the difference, earning him a wide points victory by scores of 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109 in a bout that was closer than the scorecards suggest.
It was just the fourth time in his career that Munguia has been extended the distance.
“I was surprised by his ability to take punches. He took a lot of punches to the head and to the body. He took punches that would have dropped anyone else,” said Munguia after the fight.
“I feel I got a lot of experience from this fight. I will keep working on using my distance. There were times where he was able to cut the distance and I want to work on that.”
Inoue, the brother of unbeaten multi-divisional champion and pound-for-pound entrant Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue, praised Munguia for his performance and took the loss on the chin while saying he looks forward to continuing to improve.
“With 31 wins and no losses, Munguia was not just a power puncher but a great boxer,” Inoue said.
“We both had the skill to kill the other’s boxing style. He was the better fighter tonight. I hope to get better and come back to the United States to fight again.”
Munguia, who is still just 22, had previously spoken about his desire to unify the junior middleweight division before moving up to that glamour 160-pound division in 2020. Before that can happen he will need to defend his WBO championship against Australian-based Irishman Dennis ‘Hurricane’ Hogan, who will fancy his chances against the Mexican knockout artist based on Saturday night’s performance.
With Munguia being groomed as a future opponent for world middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, the Hogan fight could take place on the undercard of Alvarez’s next title defence against Daniel Jacobs on May 4 during the Mexican celebration weekend of Cinco de Mayo.
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