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‘Monster’ Inoue shows public training for Dec. 13 title unification fight with WBO champ Butler

Dec 08, 2022 12:42 pm

Naoya ‘’The Monster’’ Inoue of Ohashi Boxing Gym, who currently holds the World Boxing Association ‘’super,’’ International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council bantamweight titles simultaneously, held a public training at the gym in Yokohama on Dec. 7 for his title unification fight with World Boxing Organization bantamweight champion Paul Butler of Britain on Dec. 13 at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena.

Under watchful eyes of three members of Butler, including Butler’s trainer Joe Gallagher, the 29-year-old Inoue engaged in shadow boxing, the heavy bag and mitt hitting as well as skipping rope amid the heated room, including a stove, (for his weight-reduction purposes).

If Inoue wins the WBO title, he will become the first Japanese to achieve the feat of capturing the world titles of all the four major world sanctioning bodies, counting world champions at any weight division.
The following are the question-and-answer session with Inoue:

Question: Paul Butler came to Japan at last. How do you feel?
Answer: I have braced myself because the fight is only several days away. As far as the picture for his arrival is concerned, he appears in good condition. We both are determined to greet the arrival of the fighting day, which is less than a week.

Q: Have you worked out your strategy against Butler?
A: I think I have roughly worked out my strategy. So, I will fight by intuition after climbing through the ropes to see him face-to-face.

Q: After winding up your full-fledged sparring session on Nov. 28, have you done some kind of training similar to actual fighting like touch sparring?
A: Yes, I did touch sparring and engaged myself in ‘’the near sparring’’ with Takuma Inoue (his younger brother) for eight rounds yesterday (on Dec. 6). This time I did a simulated fight fairly at the last minute.

Q: What about your weight reduction efforts?
A: I think my weight reduction has been going smoothly. Since my fight is less than a week away, I am now in the stage of fine adjustment.

Q: After winding up your long sparring session, I heard you got a little tired. Did you change your pace of adjustment?
A: No. I have been doing as originally planned.

Q: Your gym’s head Mr. (Hideyuki) Ohashi said you became stronger thanks to your training in Los Angeles. Do you agree with him?
A: Changing my training environment was important. Through that, I think I have improved my attitude toward boxing. That kind of feeling is important, and I learned a lot in that respect.

Q: More specifically, what kind of things did you ‘’harvest’’ from your Los Angeles training?
A: I went to LA to change my training circumstances not the content of my training per se.

Q: Were there any sparring partners in LA who were helpful to your coming fight with Butler?
A: No. As I said, I visited LA just to change my training circumstances.

Q: After your long-round sparring sessions, do you think you can display your new aspect in the coming fight?
A: Unlike my previous fight with (Nonito) Donaire (of the Philippines), in which I knocked him out, my coming fight with Butler would be the one in which I can show my technique because Butler has an excellent technique.

Q: If you have unified the titles in the coming fight, do you think you will give some kind of reward to yourself?
A: No. nothing. The upcoming fight is just a pass point. If I win the coming fight, I will move on to the next step.

Q: Your training method changed under the guidance of your physical trainer (Akira) Yaegashi. Do you think you want to add or change anything in your training?
A: At this point in time, I don’t think so. I started this kind of training in November last year. The new training method envisages strengthening my physical aspect so that I can fight better at the bantamweight.

Q: In the upcoming title unification match, many records such as Japan’s first and Asia’s first, etc. hinges on you. Any comment?
A: The coming fight will be the memorable one in terms of various records. This fight will be my final chapter as a bantamweight boxer, which means the start of my next target of moving up in weight to the super bantamweight. This is, therefore, just a stepping stone, not a goal in my career. I, therefore, want to win it in an impressive fashion.

Q: Do you have a different elated feeling for the coming fight from your past fights?
A: Yes, I do. I have fought four years at bantamweight. I feel excited when the upcoming fight will be my last fight at the bantamweight division. At the same time, I hope the coming fight will be the one which will lend myself to fighting as a super bantamweight boxer.

Inoue has 23 straight wins, including 20 knockouts. For his part, the 34-year-old Butler has a record of 34 wins, including 15 knockouts, against two losses.  Photos by OHASHI BOXING GYM

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