Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales live results, highlights as ‘The Monster’ becomes two-weight undisputed king

Naoya Inoue produced another performance of masterful destruction to become a two-weight undisputed champion, stopping Marlon Tapales in 10 rounds to add the IBF and WBA super bantamweight titles to his WBC and WBO belts.

A little over a year ago, Inoue beat Paul Butler to become undisputed bantamweight champion and wasted no time in cleaning out the 122 lbs category.

Tapales had more success than American Stephen Fulton, who Inoue obliterated in eight rounds in July, and recovered well from a fourth-round knockdown.

However, a couple of heavy right hands that the Filipino partially blocked left him scrambled and unable to adequately respond to the count one minute and two seconds into round 10 at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena.

Four-division champion Inoue is only the second men’s boxer in the four-belt era to claim undisputed status after Terence Crawford added welterweight to super lightweight dominance with his destruction of Errol Spence earlier this year.

Before the fight, Tapales spoke of his desire to take Inoue into deep water but, like Fulton before him, he soon found that the home fighter’s physicality and power had travelled with him up the weight categories to a frightening degree.

The southpaw visitor struggled to get his lead foot outside Inoue’s early on, leaving him open to the favourite’s jolting backhand. Tapales’ tendency to lean in also quickly looked fraught with danger as Inoue landed clipping hooks and uppercuts.

The IBF and WBA ruler fought with the ambition of a champion early on but a pattern of one-way traffic emerged as Inoue’s movement and punch variety proved beguiling. In round four, a left the head disorganised Tapales and he tumbled under the follow-up assault.

Handily for the 31-year-old, the bell sounded as he received the count and he made it back to his corner. From that point, Tapales tailored his approach impressively, employing a more languid front-foot defence, catching Inoue with a snaking upward jab and scoring to the body.

On The Sporting News’ card, he took rounds seven and eight, although Inoue’s ring IQ was to the fore in the next session. He started to double up his sledgehammer rights throughout a punishing three minutes.

Tapales reverted to the high guard he used earlier in the fight in the name of self-preservation, but it was no use. Two hammering Inoue rights off the jab left him disoriented on the canvas. He wanted to continue but Inoue’s magical power had cast its spell on his latest landmark night.

WATCH: Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales, exclusively on ESPN+

Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales live updates, results, highlights 

6:50 p.m. ET/ 8:50 p.m. JST: Inoue having more problems putting all these belts on his small frame than he’s had with most opponents in a pro career that now stands at 26-0 with 23 knockouts. Along with his dual undisputed status, he is also a four-weight world champion and as good as any fighter in his era. Tapales fought an astute and brave fight, making adjustments to win a couple of the middle rounds. The upshot was a shuddering 10th-round stoppage. The price you pay for tangling with greatness. Thanks for spending some valuable festive time with us in the presence of Naoya Inoue’s greatness

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 adjusts 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 work 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

6:02 p.m. ET/ 8:02 p.m. JST: National anthems are done and we’re running through the final formalities. We’ll be going round-by-round. Don’t blink with The Monster around.

5:58 p.m. ET/ 7:58 p.m. JST: Now Inoue is in the arena, Japanese flags illuminated everywhere. A bone fide national hero. To put this in perspective, Terence Crawford is the only man in boxing’s four-belt era to be a two-weight undisputed champion, a status he achieved this year by demolishing Errol Spence. Inoue can become the second. Having beaten Paul Butler 377 days ago to become undisputed at bantamweight, he will do so in quick time if the claims Tapales IBF and WBA belts, having ripped the WBC and WBO versions from Stephen Fulton in July.

5:55 p.m. ET/ 7:55 p.m. JST: Here we go then, bang on schedule Marlon Tapales is on his ringwalk. No messing about, all business. “The Nightmare” is ready. 

5:35 p.m. ET/ 7:35 p.m. JSTSeiya Tsutsumi wins by unanimous decision! Ultimately the only result that was possible after knockdown number four. Tsutsumi’s shorts are soaked in his own blood from that awful cut over his left eye. What a heroic display. Along with being crowned Japanese bantamweight champion and moving to a career record of 10-0-2, he also wins The Monster Tournament and walks away with a cheque for 10 million Yen. He’s handed a huge novelty cheque in the ring. It turns out it’s quite hard to hold one of those things in handwraps.

Anaguchi has already been led away to his dressing room and doesn’t look in great shape. Hopefully that’s nothing serious. To be absolutely honest, his corner looked entirely ill-equipped to provide the care needed to their man after he was decked four times. A skilful 23-year-old, Anaguchi can undoubtedly come again if he tightens his defence up and stops lazily bringing punches back to his waist. That fight was there for him to win tonight but he left too many opportunities on the table for a heavy-handed and bloody-minded warrior in Tsutsumi.

5:28 p.m. ET/ 7:28 p.m. JST: If we get to the scorecards, this will be very interesting. You can make an argument that Anaguchi has won every round that he hasn’t been dropped in, but shipping three 10-8s in a 10-round fight is a bit of a problem. This could be 84-84 and all on this round. Both men look tired and are switching up to the body. Surely Tsutsumi is going to look for one more big head shot. There it is, Anaguchi crumples to the canvas! A right to the chin, a left to the temple and a heavy helping of exhaustion. He gets up wearily and hears the final bell but that’s surely his unbeaten record up in smoke

5:22 p.m. ET/ 7:22 p.m. JST: The barnburner pattern of this one continues. Anaguchi gets back to his boxing, stepping back, countering, to win round eight. But back comes Tsutsumi again with a big effort in the penultimate session. Another massive right puts Anaguchi down for a third time! More time left in the round this time, Anaguchi scores well again but does so boxing with his hands down and is open to more heavy shots. Buckle up for this final round, mayhem ahoy!

5:14 p.m. ET/ 7:14 p.m. JST: That cut really is in a dreadful position for Tsutsumi, just outside his left eye and at a 45 degree angle. Anaguchi, who has regrouped from the knockdown, pings him on the wound with a red right hook. The doctor takes a look. There are four rounds to go and you struggle to see Tsutsumi making the final bell. But maybe he won’t need to as a huge right hand put Anaguchi down for the second time in the fight in round seven! My word.

5:05 p.m. ET/ 7:05 p.m. JST: The Japanese bantamweight title fight had started to become a bit of a slog for Tsutsumi by the fourth round, as he sported a nasty cut above his eye and nursed a deficit on the scorecards. But he flips the script sensationally, throwing the sort of Hail Mary left hook that fighters with impaired vision are more likely to decide to throw the dice with. It caught Anaguchi right on the button and he tumbled under the follow-up assault. The younger man beat the count but was have a fight on our hands.

4:45 p.m. ET/ 6:45 p.m. JST: Ringwalks for our co-main event have just concluded. It’s an all-Japanese bantamweight showdown between Seiya Tsutsumi and Kazuki Anaguchi

4:30 p.m. ET/ 6:30 p.m. JST: Inoue is backstage having his hands wrapped, with just our chief support to come before the main event. Stephen Fulton cast aspersions about the legality of Inoue’s wraps, accusing the Japanese superstar of “stacking”. It ultimately amounted to pre-fight mind games, with Inoue’s wraps passed as expected. The wisdom of Fulton potentially making Inoue mad was deeply questionable as he suffered an eight-round beatdown. In a weight class that some observers felt might be at the limit of Inoue’s physical capacity, he took an elite world champion to pieces.

4:05 p.m. ET/ 6:05 p.m. JSTHiraoka finishes the job in round five. Having previously appeared reluctant to mix it too much on the inside with his Mexican foe, Hiraoka switched his attack to the body decisively. The stoppage felt a bit premature if we look at the concluding moments in isolation, but that fight was only going one way. During his post-fight interview, Hiraoka reverts to English from Japanese and tells “all the champions at 140, I’m coming for you, mate.”

4:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. JST: Halfway through this scheduled eight-rounder and it’s pretty much one-way traffic. Hiraoka caught Diaz cold in the opener, flooring him with a lead right hook. The home fighter’s variety with his lead hand out of the southpaw stance has been very impressive and a defining feature of the fight. A frustration was Hiraoka’s apparently reluctance to make his superiority truly tell after round one but, towards the end of the fourth he unloaded some brutal combinations with the increasingly forlorn Diaz against the ropes.

3:40 p.m. ET/ 5:40 p.m. JST: Next up we have Inoue’s stablemate Andy Hiraoka, a 22-0 super lightweight contender who is boxing for the first time this year. Hiraoka is now working under the watchful eye of Shingo Inoue, having previously been based in America to be coached by Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Roger Mayweather. Mexico’s Sebastian Diaz is in the other corner against the rangy southpaw.

3:20 p.m. ET/ 5:20 p.m. JST: The main card is underway and Yoshiki Takei has just absolutely erased Mario Diaz with a body shot for a second-round KO. The former kickboxing champion pretty much wound up the shot from downtown Tokyo. Very little subtly in the set-up but no arguing with the results of a long southpaw left hook to the liver that left Diaz rolling and writhing like a man regretting his third helping of Christmas dinner. Takei is campaigning in the same super bantamweight division as today’s main event.The win moves Takei to 8-0 under the Queensberry Rules. All of those have come inside the distance.

3:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m JST: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales for the u.ndisputed super bantamweight world championship. Perhaps you’re haven’t been to bed yet after a day of Christmas excess, or maybe the kids have got you up early to play with their new toys all over again. Either way, stick with us because this is not one you’ll want to miss.

How to watch Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales: TV channel, live stream

Region TV channel Live streaming
Canada TSN+
UK and Ireland Sky Sports Darts Sky GO
Australia TBC

Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales price: How much does the fight cost? 

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What time is Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales today?

Region Date Main Card Start Time Main Event Ring Walks (approx.)
USA and Canada (ET) Tuesday, December 26 3 a.m. ET 6 a.m. ET
USA and Canada (PT) Tuesday, December 26 12 a.m. PT 3 a.m. PT
UK and Ireland Tuesday, December 26 8 a.m. GMT 11 a.m. GMT


Tuesday, December 26 7 p.m. AEDT 10 p.m. GMT

Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales full card

  • Naoya Inoue (c) def. Marlon Tapales (c) to retain the WBC and WBO and win the IBF and WBA  super bantamweight titles
  • Seiya Tsutsumi def. Kazuki Anaguchi (UD 10) to retain the Japanese Boxing Commission super bantamweight title
  • Andy Hiraoka def. Sabastian Diaz (TKO 5/8); super lightweights
  • Yoshiki Takei def. Mario Diaz Maldonado (KO 2/8); super bantamweights
  • Kanamu Sakama def. John Paul Gabunilas (TKO 5/8); flyweights
  • Fuga Uematsu def. Suguru Ishikawa (TKO 4/4); featherweights
  • Rikiya Sato def. Keisuke Endo (UD 4); super featherweights

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