Today in Tokyo, Japan, reigning IBF/WBA bantamweight champ Naoya Inoue scored an eighth-round stoppage win over an incredibly brave Aran Dipaen. “The Monster” dominated the action throughout, bloodying his Thai opponent’s nose and wobbling him numerous times, and finally, in the eighth, a combo followed by a left hook sent the challenger down. Dipaen beat the count but he was soon hurt by another left hand to the head and the referee decided he had seen enough and he stopped the fight. Time was 2:34 of the 8th. Inoue is now a perfect 22-0(19). Dipaen, who showed immense courage, falls to 12-3(11).
Dipaen surprised many of us (this writer included, who erroneously predicted a first-round win for Inoue) with his guts and his durability. It was Inoue’s fight all the way yet Dipaen managed to hang in there, in doing so lasting longer than bigger-name fighters managed when they faced Inoue. The crowd cheered on their hero, naturally, but Dipaen got plenty of respect from the fans himself. It was Inoue doing all the damage, to both head and body, but Dipaen was at times able to come fighting back, throwing some power shots.
Inoue was never once troubled by anything his 30-year-old challenger could muster but Dipaen sure earned every penny of his money with today’s effort. Today’s defeat marked the first time Dipaen has ever been stopped at pro-level yet his level of competition left much to be desired and almost everyone felt “The Monster” would devour his prey in double-quick time. Much respect, and an apology, to Dipaen.
But what next for Inoue? The best bantamweight in the world, Inoue has had a most low-key 2021, with just two fights, both against huge underdogs, and it is hoped he has far bigger fights next year. The talk now is if a unification showdown with WBO bantamweight champ John Riel Casimero. This fight should have happened way before now, so hopefully, it will at last get done in 2022.
28-year-old Inoue got the hero-worship treatment today, but Dipean deserves enormous credit for his strong effort. Who out there really expected this fight to reach the eighth round!?