Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue 18-0 (16) has booked himself a spot in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) final with a two-round demolition job of now former IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez 19-1 (12) at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday night.
The 26-year-old Japanese powerhouse, who hold a secondary WBA title and is a former world champion at 108 and 115 pounds, had Rodriguez on the deck three in the second frame before the referee stepped in to stop the fight at the 1:19 mark.
“I came out looking to be aggressive, and I kept that going and I did well tonight,” Inoue said after the fight.
After a close opening round, Inoue decked Rodriguez with a perfectly timed left hook early in the second stanza. The proud Puerto Rican quickly rose to his feet with blood trickling from his nose, but a fast three-punch combination from Inoue culminating with a hard right to the body sent him down once again.
A clearly rattled Rodriguez looked to his corner and shook his head before beating the count and continuing on but the writing was on the wall. Inoue slammed home four more punches that sent Rodriguez crumpling to the mat for the third time in the round.
Rodriguez made it to his feet once again but the referee wisely decided he had seen enough.
“He won the first round and I didn’t know how it was going to turn out after that,” Inoue said.
Inoue, who was fighting outside of his native Japan for just the second time in his pro career, will now face Filipino-American veteran Nonito Donaire 40-5 (26) in the final of the WBSS.
“I felt very much at home; everyone here made me feel at home. Donaire has had a great career and is a great fighter. I respect him and I look forward to fighting him,” Inoue said.
Donaire, who was at ringside for the fight, praised Inoue for his performance and said meeting him in the ring was destiny.
“He was incredible, he did what he had to do,” Donaire said.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for. We’ve always felt we were going to meet each other, it’s destiny.
“This is what boxing is about, the best fighting the best. He’s the monster and that’s something to figure out.”