Right now, when hardcore fight fans think of “Inoue” they think immediately of Naoya Inoue, the sensationally talented 2-weight world champion, or a member of his family, such as his younger brother Takuma Inoue, his cousin Koki Inoue or his father and trainer Shingo Inoue, who trains the entire boxing clan.
There is however no boxing monopoly on the surname and another really talented fighter with the same surname is Tokyoite Takeshi Inoue (9-0-1, 4), who is making a name for himself at 154lbs, where he is ranked by the JBC.
The 27 year-old hopeful first made his mark in the amateur ranks where he ran up a solid 39-16 (21) record and competed on the hotly contested Japanese university circuit, where he captained the Hosei University boxing team. His amateur career ended in 2014, when he made his professional debut and fought to a 6 round-draw with fellow debutant Daishi Nagata.
Despite a draw on debut Inoue has risen through the ranks and notched 9 straight wins. The first of those wins was a 3rd round KO win against Thai Thongda Jamjit, he built on that win with a solid domestic victory against tough domestic veteran Kota Oguchi and then a 2nd round blow out against Kriburee Sithniwat to move to 3-0-1 (2).
The first really notable win for Inoue came just less than a year after his debut as he took on Japanese ranked welterweight Hisao Narita. Ranked #10 by the JBC at the time, Narita was hungry to overcome the touted Inoue and the two men put on a thriller, though Inoue did just enough to claim a split decision win over the more experienced man. The win over Narita was followed by subsequent decision wins over Hideo Mikan and Elfelos Vega as Inoue established himself as a key Japanese domestic fighter in, and around the light middleweight division.
Having established himself as a domestic contender Inoue made his international debut, travelling to Bangkok in September 2016 to take on limited Thai Fahsanghan Por Lasuor. Coming into the bout Fahsanghan had lost 12 times by stoppage, and unsurprisingly that run continued with Inoue stopping him in round 3. The international competition continued in November 2016 when he took on Korean puncher Chan Ho Lee. Lee came to upset Inoue but lacked the skills needed to really test him and was retired by his corner between rounds 2 and 3.
Inoue has only fought once this year, but it was the best performance of his career as he took a wide decision win over former Japanese, OPBF and PABA Welterweight champion Akinori Watanabe. From the opening seconds Inoue made it clear that he was looking to put on a show and that’s just want he did as he took the fight to the heavy handed Watanabe and brawled with him through the action packed 8-rounder. It wasn’t a punch perfect performance but it was a highly entertaining one that was aired live on Japanese TV channel G+.
Ranked in the top-5 by both the JBC and the OPBF, a title fight is just around the corner for Inoue at 154lbs. With his style, his time in the sport might be rather limited but it’ll be fun to watch him as he comes to fight and always puts on a show with a high volume offensive. At the moment he’d be the under-dog against either Japanese champion Yuki Nonaka or Oriental champion Yutaka Oishi, but he would be a very live under-dog against both men. Saying that though it’s likely he’ll get a fight with one of those two men before the end of 2017, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him ending the year with a title around his waist.
(Scott Graveson covers the Asian boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info)