The ‘Monster’ Naoya Inoue is considered one of the most feared fighters in world boxing today due to his unreal power, unique skill set and body punching attacks. In this boxing style analysis, I’ll look at his accomplishments to date, what makes him live up to his ‘Monster’ name and help you take some ideas tips for your own style.
Who is Naoya Inoue?
Naoya Inoue is without a doubt regarded one of the best pound for pound boxers on many people’s list today. But how did this young boxing star from Japan get to this level at such a young age? Well Naoya had a startling amateur career where he amassed 75-6 record with 48 KOs! Remember this is amateur boxing where he amassed an unreal amount of KOs!
Inoue after a fairly straight forward amateur career, turned pro in 2012, by the next year with a record of 5-0 he had his first world title fight for the WBC World light flyweight title against the Mexican Adrein Hernandez, it only took him 6 rounds…
The ‘Monster’ since then has gone onto amass a perfect record to date and is now a 3 weight world champion by age of 26. Truly remarkable considering he still has so much longer to give to the sport of boxing. It’s exciting to think how far he can go and who he could go onto face!
The Japanese star is currently fighting in the World Boxing Super Series at 118 lbs (bantamweight), where he will face former pound 4 pound star and KO artist himself Nonito Donaire in the final.
Inoue has won belts in 3 weight divisions so far, including some national belts in Japan. See his amazing accomplishments to date so far:
WBC light-flyweight title
WBO junior-bantamweight title
IBF bantamweight title
WBA (regular) bantamweight title
The Ring Magazine bantamweight belt
OPBF light-flyweight title
Japanese light-flyweight title
2010 – Bronze at Asian Youth Championships – light-flyweight
Inoue’s Boxing Style
As mentioned above Inoue is an extremely gifted fighter, but that’s not to say he hasn’t worked to get where he is today. The Japanese star uses his incredible athleticism where he puts pressure on his opponent (mainly with his jab and combination punching) to create openings for his well-known and signature left hook to body.
I’ll go in more detail below.
Sharp Accurate Jab
Everything for Inoue usually comes off the incredibly use of his accurate and varied jab. For most that watch Inoue, this is probably the most underappreciated part of his amazing skill set. Inoue likes to use his jab to feel out his opponent to help apply pressure, but also to help maintain distance and respect from his opponent.
Inoue will tend to use light quick soft jabs 2-3 at time (A technique Lomachenko also likes to use), this very much helps him set up a stronger powerful jab which in turn helps Inoue fire a straight right, hook or upper cut on his opponent head or high guard.
He will also throw straight jabs to the body to change up his rhythm when he applying pressure.
This variation with his jab usually causes his opponent to have uncertainty on what combinations Inoue will throw or how powerful a shot will be made (more below). This is where the ‘Monster’ usually opens up his favorite and finishing left hook.
Check out this great short video by toe2toe boxing below to see Inoue put his jab in action.
Variation of Combinations
As I mentioned above Inoue is very much looking to manipulate his opponents guard to create openings. The Japanese boxing star is brilliant at doing this, but he is even better at changing the variation of each combination he throws.
For example he will change the sequence of where and how he attacks e.g. High, Low, High or Low High Low Low. By doing this it simply confuses or causes panic in his competitors which results in them bring their guard high or low. Either doesn’t matter for Inoue as he is amazingly accurate by throwing a body shot (low) or vertical left hook (high)
Subtle & Effective Defense
Inoue defense is another underrated piece of his skill set, although he still to be truly tested, I feel any top competitor will struggle while he is in his prime. Generally he uses a high guard if he is up close against his opponent, while they throw shots, Inoue will very subtly step backwards or pivot so the punches arn’t as effective or clean. He is also very good at smothering his opponent up close too and catching shots with his arms whcih tend to result in him counter punching them without being tied up.
Generally you will see him use a philly shell or something similar to a Mike Tyson’s peek-a-boo when up close. Head movement also plays a big part in Inoue overall defense, which is something he a has clearly worked on to avoid taking big shots.
We’ll finish off with what Inoue does best, finishing off his opponents to the body! Now all of what I have discussed above demonstrates how Inoue finds openings to his body. e.g. variation of punching high and low and creating angles through pressure. We all know however Inoue loves to go to solar plexus, kidneys or liver. The liver shot in particular is one of the most painful shots you can receive in boxing if hit accurately and hard enough, causing immediate fatigue and unbearable pain – it’s not wonder he aims for this shot. Learn more here about why your body can’t handle it.
I also think a big part or Inoue finding these openings is due to the pressure and fear factor he puts on his competitor in the ring which simply make them rush their work, causing them to put their guard in the wrong position. Check out what his former opponent Antonio Nieves said to Boxing News on facing him:
“(Inoue) does several things brilliantly in there…His jab was fast and he knew not let me get set. He was a very strong and a very sharp puncher. He’s really a very skilled individual…he caught me with a good front of the liver shot while I was moving back.”
To finish off looking at this area check out HaNZAgod’s video below on Inoue’s body work highlights to see all this action!
Inoue’s next fight takes place in the World Boxing Super Series final against Nonito Donaire. Make sure to tune into watch this master boxer in action. I’ll leave you with IGLU video below on how Inoue is the successor to the once feared Golovkin.
If you would like more content like this check out my in depth look at some other well know boxing faces of as I analyze their styles here.
For more boxing training and fitness advice and reviews check out the link here.
The Modern Martial Artist: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1MHbPo9A_TcNH0fZ7ezARw
Bad Left Hook: https://www.badlefthook.com/2014/12/29/7459563/rigondeaux-vs-amagasa-naoya-inoue-omar-narvaez-two-jabs-harada-leonard-boxing-technique-analysis