Round 10: Tapales is back to his high guard and it’s doing him no favours. Booming right from Inoue, and another. It has a slightly delayed effect and down goes Tapales. That sort of delay is a worry. He’s trying to beat the count but looks like he’s been tazered. IT’S ALL OVER, NAOYA INOUE IS A TWO-TIME UNDISPUTED WORLD CHAMPION!
Round 9: Inoue adjusting to Tapales’ adjustments, doubling up on the right hand to back up his opponent. Tapales has just veered back to moving in straight lines, making him vulnerable to the straight right. His corner urge him to back Inoue up but that’s easier said than done when “The Monster” is letting shots go and pinning his prey into the neutral corner. A whipping left-right gets through Tapales’ high guard. Now a left jab, big right and another to the body. An emphatic response.
SN unofficial scorecard: Inoue 88-82 Tapales
Round 8: Tapales is showing signs of solving the puzzle, moving better and getting his feet in a more optimal position. He clips Inoue with a nice rising right jab. An overhand right from Inoue but Tapales slips out of the way and responds with a snaking left. Inoue missing quite a lot now. Not then, though as a thudding right gets home. Overall, though, another good session for the visitor.
SN unofficial scorecard: Inoue 78-73 Tapales
Round 7: More front-foot action from Tapales and he’s setting it up better with his lead hand now. Inoue responds inside the final 30 seconds with a couple more solid rights but I reckon that’s finally one in the books for the Filipino.
SN unofficial scorecard: Inoue 69-63 Tapales
Round 6: Tapales backs Inoue up and has a little more success to the body. His response to the knockdown has been fantastic. The body attack had made Inoue a little more circumspect before he unfurled a four-punch combination. He’s happy to play matador to Tapales’ bull right now. Ooof, hook to the jaw! Nothing wrong with Tapales’ chin but every bit of success he has is being answered with interest. A long Inoue right, before Tapales falls in and ships clipping shots to body and head closes the round.
SN unofficial scorecard: Inoue 60-53 Tapales
Round 5: Tapales tries to attack Inoue in the neutral corner but the hometown hero shoves his foe away and gets back on the front foot. Inoue’s overall strength at this higher weight really is pretty surprising. Tapales is fighting fire with fire and digs in a meaty left to the body and another shot upstairs. This is his best round so far. But he’s clouted by an Inoue uppercut. Tapales tries a wide right hook but Inoue’s jolting shorter shot gets there first. The fighters touch gloves appreciatively at the bell.
SN unofficial scorecard: Inoue 50-44 Tapales
Round 4: Inoue starts the session aggressively and Tapales’ high guard is starting to look ragged and limited against this variety of attack. His body is also exposed and Inoue finds another beauty to the midriff. The Filipino responds by getting on the offensive. The left to the body is working for him, although Inoue responds with a thunderous right to the ribs of his own. Body, body, head from Inoue as thy exchange. Now a left to the head staggers Tapales, follow up assault and down goes Tapales. The IBF and WBA champ beats the count and the bell must sound beautiful to him. However, in a minute he’s got more of this onslaught to deal with. I’m not sure how much longer this one goes.
SN unofficial scorecard: Inoue 40-35 Tapales
Round 3: Tapales is backed up by a meaty uppercut and covers up. Now Inoue beckons Tapales in towards the neutral corner. He doesn’t take the bait so Inoue gets back to word with heavy shots in centre ring. Again Tapales’ defence holds up well enough and he’s having occasional success to the body. Right upstairs from Inoue and he digs a second into the body. Tapales leans into a couple of short uppercuts. If Inoue times one of them you have to think it’s goodnight.
SN unofficial scorecard: Inoue 30-27 Tapales
Round 2: Inoue shuffles out of range and then starts back with a hard right and a one-two. His much-vaunted power takes the attention but the WBC and WBO champ’s footwork is utterly exceptional. Tapales is down and it’s ruled a slip, probably correctly even if an Inoue left was involved in the exchange. Jamel Herring on commentary is imploring Tapales to get his right foot outside of Inoue’s left. At the moment he looks like a sitting duck for an Inoue straight right down the pipe. There’s one, after a left hook. Tapales falling in at times too but responds with a nice right jab of his own.
SN unofficial scorecard: Inoue 20-18 Tapales
Round 1: Both men start out fencing behind the jab. Inoue orthodox and Tapales southpaw. The home favourite whips a lightning right hand into the body. Tapales’s strategy of lingering in range feels bold, but he jabs to the body and then gets a left hand home. Now a right to the body from Inoue and he’s popping the hab with increasing authority, even if Tapales is managing to block most of them,
SN unofficial scorecard: Inoue 10-9 Tapales