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Boxing & MMA

Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler results: Inoue crowned first-ever undisputed bantamweight champion in four-belt era

There can no longer be any question about who reigns supreme in the bantamweight division after Naoya Inoue outclassed Paul Butler on the way to becoming the first-ever undisputed bantamweight champion in the four-belt era. 

The hometown hero snatched Butler’s WBO strap from him in the Ariake Arena to complete the set with a display full of defensive showmanship and trademark shot selection, as he overpowered the Englishman to claim an 11th round TKO victory that sees ‘The Monster’ improve to 24-0. 

“Having all four belts will prove that I am the number one bantamweight, so for me this belt is very necessary,” Inoue stated before fight night, via The Sports Inquirer. “When I have all four belts then I will decide what comes next, whether that means moving up to super bantamweight or whatever.”

Right from the offset, the three-division champion showed how much it meant to him by asserting his dominance over Butler. He stalked him around the ring and drew wild applause from the crowd whenever he built his left jab into any sort of meaningful combination. 

Inoue is known for putting his opponents away early and attempted to do so again when he backed Butler into a corner and unleashed a flurry of punches.

The underdog somehow managed to weather the storm that many before him could not, but Butler remained on the outside as he desperately circled around Inoue looking to avoid his attacks. 

‘The Monster’ repeatedly found a home for his left jab through the high guard of Butler though, who had by now been reduced to taking pot-shots with a few left hooks failing to find their target. 

Despite clearly having a significant edge in the exchanges, Inoue found the veteran a tough nut to crack; even luring him into throwing some punches by putting his hands behind his back and jutting out his chin as he played the role of a matador.  

Yet this failed to spring an understandably hesitant Butler into action, with the prospect of more uppercuts and looping right hands lingering on the horizon. 

MORE: Sign up to watch Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler, exclusively on ESPN+ 

“I know I’m the big underdog, and I know every single one of them in that crowd will be cheering for Inoue,” Butler told The Sporting News beforehand. “But in a weird way, I love that, I thrive off that. I don’t mind going into the lion’s den and putting on a show.” 

However, in the end it was a one-sided contest where Inoue was the man entertaining the fans as he dropped Butler one minute into the 11th round with a string of body blows and strikes to the temple which he was unable to recover from.  

The Sporting News covered all of the action from the Inoue vs. Butler card below. 

Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue makes history with dominant TKO victory over Paul Butler 

Round 11: It’s all over! Inoue becomes the first-ever undisputed bantamweight champion in the four-belt era, with some heavy body shots and strikes to the temple dropping Butler to the floor. He’s unable to answer the count and Inoue salutes the crowd after a flawless performance. 

Round 10: With three rounds to go, Inoue sits on his stool showing no signs of discomfort- a smile or two may even poke through. He’s barely breaking a sweat and traipses around the ring picking angled uppercuts and stiff jabs at will. 

Round 9: One of Butler’s best rounds of the contest although he still isn’t matching the output of Inoue. 

Round 8: Butler produces a quality four-punch combination from in tight which seems to anger Inoue who replies with a quick one-two of his own. He put his hands behind his back and sticks his chin out trying to lure Butler again, but he doesn’t bite. 

Round 7: Yet another impressive round from Inoue. At times, he’s simply toying with his opponent. 

Round 6: Bit of showmanship from Inoue who tries to lure Butler into launching an attack by leaving himself open in the middle of the ring and acting like a matador. Butler doesn’t fall for it though, so Inoue charges towards him instead. The Japanese star is looking supremely confident. 

Round 5: Butler showcases his own impressive hand speed with a few shots. Inoue replies with some lovely work on the ropes- perfect shot selection to heighten Butler’s guard before he targets the body. 

Round 4: ‘The Monster’ plants his feet and measures the distance before stringing together some offence. The left jab repeatedly slipping through Butler’s defence. A flurry of bombs from Inoue forces his opponent to cover up. 

Round 3: A six-punch combination from Inoue headlines the action and it sends Butler scurrying into the corner. He weathers the storm and fights his way out with a leading jab and eventually finds a combo of his own. 

Round 2: Inoue shoots some brutal shots to the body as he cuts off the ring and repeatedly makes Butler use his footwork to try and get his back off the ropes. The Englishman then throws two left hooks, but they fail to find their target with Inoue proving elusive. 

Round 1: Inoue stalks Butler around the ring sticking out the lead left jab and drawing a round of applause from the crowd with every power shot he summons. 

A strong first round for the favourite with Butler clearly worried about Inoue’s power and offering very little on offence. 

7:54pm: Both Inoue and Butler have made their way to the ring with the fight about to get underway! 

7:22 pm: Naoya Inoue is up next against Paul Butler in the main event with the undisputed title up for grabs. 

Andy Hiraoka drops Min Ho Jun to maintain perfect record 

Round 8: Hiraoka looks to maintain the pace he set at the end of the last round and backs Jung into the corner. The South Korean escapes but is dropped to his knees with an uppercut out of nowhere! 

From there it is a formality as Jung is ruthlessly put away. Hiraoka sending him crashing to the canvas again with another heavy uppercut followed by a left hook.

Hiraoka claiming his eighth TKO victory in a row, while improving his record to 22-0. 

Round 7: Jung sits down on a right hand, before Hiraoka answers with a stiff jab to the chin. He then lands a rare body shot to the midriff. It’s a strong round for Hiraoka who senses Jung slowing down. 

Round 6: Jung’s wild forays forward are starting to get punished with Hiraoka finding his range. Although the fight is temporarily stopped when a low blow collects Jung.

The crowd have been dead silent up until this point, and Jung implores them to make some noise upon the resumption. He goes head-hunting without success, as looping hooks sail over the head of Hiraoka.  

Round 5: Hiraoka tags Jung early with a powerful right hand and he then steps into a left. The best round of the fight so far is capped when Hiraoka sends one straight down main street which stops Jung in his tracks momentarily. 

Round 4: Jung is more aggressive as Hiraoka seems content to bide his time. He lets loose with an uppercut when Jung charges in but collects nothing but fresh air. 

Round 3: Jung having issues on his feet as he slips twice on the canvas. Both men continue to feint and weave through the occasional jab. 

Round 2: The feeling out period continues before Jung explodes with some wild shots. He slips though during his spring forward and nothing really lands. 

Round 1: Patient start from both men who are trying to work out the game plans of their opponent and establish their jabs. 

6:36pm: Andy Hiraoka, who is undefeated in 21 fights, puts his WBO Asia Pacific super-lightweight strap on the line against Min Ho Jun in the co-main event. 

Yoshiki Takei defends his title with comfortable victory over Bruno Tarimo

6:25pm: The referee and doctor have seen enough with the fight being called a TKO victory for Takei in round 11.

It’s anti-climactic, but there can be no arguments after Tarimo was ultimately outclassed by the Japanese star who had had more power and better shot selection from the outside. 

Takei improves to 6-0, while maintaining his impressive record of having finished all of his boxing fights so far in his career. 

6:18pm: “Stop jabbing and throw more punches, Bruno!” Tarimo’s trainer screams as it gets to desperation stakes. 

He is unable to piece together any meaningful combinations though, with Takei throwing out the jab and keeping him at bay. 

6:13pm: Takei gets his second wind and becomes the aggressor as he takes control of the centre of the ring. Both men look weary heading into the final three rounds, but Tarimo needs to go for broke now. 

6:09pm: Tarimo puts together a combination to the body with Takei resting against the ropes. He’s feeling the pressure from Tarimo’s relentless chasing with his output grinding to a halt in round eight.

Takei is pinned into the corner and is on the receiving end of some short hooks from close range. Meanwhile, Tarimo’s trainer – who has been vocal all fight – screams for shots to the liver. 

6:00pm: Halfway through the 12 round contest and Takei has locked into a rhythm. He’s dancing around the outside and picking his shots with uppercuts peppering Tarimo, who keeps trying to cut the ring off with diminishing success.  

Tarimo keeps pressing, but Takei is beginning to look comfortable with his hands low and content to wait for his opportunities to open up. 

5:50pm: Tarimo’s knees are buckled when a left hook from off the back foot stops his charge forward. Yet he continues to try and back Takei into corners. It’s been a scrappy affair across the first three rounds. 

5:45pm: Neither man has been able to land any significant shots in the early rounds, with Tarimo finally managing to close the distance and make things uncomfortable for Takei in tight. 

5:43pm: A wild first round comes to an end as Takei sports a cut on his eye after a clash of heads but does score a knockdown against his opponent.

He adopts a wide stance to start proceedings and causes plenty of issues with his striking from range. 

Tarimo – fighting out of Queensland – is not winning many fans in his corner with his trainer repeatedly calling for him to go inside of Takei’s range. 

5:30pm: Takei puts his Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super-bantamweight title on the line against Bruno ‘The Terminator’ Tarimo. 

Takei, the former kickboxer, has made quite a name for himself in his burgeoning boxing career having racked up an unbeaten 5-0 record all via TKO’s. 

Takuma Inoue defeats Jake Bornea via TKO in round eight 

5:17pm: The referee calls time as the doctor checks Bornea’s cuts that are pouring blood in round eight. He is allowed to continue, but shortly afterwards the ref stops the action, and he isn’t so lucky the second time as the fight is called off. 

Bornea has no complaints and lifts Inoue up in the middle of the ring. A dominant performance from the young star who improves his record to 17-1. 

5:10pm: A cut opens up above Bornea’s left eye, forcing him to lift his levels of aggression as he chases the fight for the first time since round one. However, Inoue’s ability to find a home for three and four punch combinations pick the advances off easily before a clash of heads accentuates the cut on Bornea. 

5:00pm: Looping left hooks from Takuma find their mark early with both men then trading vicious body shots in the second round. 

Bornea is guilty of leaning on his backfoot too much and waiting to counter Inoue’s flurry of punches. The Pilipino fighter switches his stance from orthodox to southpaw after being troubled by the crisp jab. 

Bornea’s output slowing down halfway through the fight, with Inoue throwing some hooks to the body that is creasing his opponent. 

4:40 pm [local time]: We’re underway at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo with Naoya Inoue’s younger brother, Takuma, taking on Jake Bornea. Both men have made their way to the ring with the fight scheduled for 10 rounds in the bantamweight division. 

Earlier in the night, Peter McGrail continued his impressive run to make it six fights undefeated since making his debut last year. The loss condemning his opponent, Hironori Miyake, to a seventh-straight loss. 

When is Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler?

  • Date: Tuesday, December 13
  • Start time: 5:30 a.m. ET | 10:30 a.m. GMT | 9:30 p.m. AEDT | 7:30 p.m. JST
  • Main event: 7:30 a.m. ET | 12:30 p.m. GMT | 11:30 p.m. AEDT | 9:30 p.m. JST (approx.)

Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler takes place on December 13. The main card starts at 5:30 a.m. ET | 10:30 a.m. GMT | 9:30 p.m. AEDT | 7:30 p.m. JST. Inoue and Butler should make their way to the ring around 7:30 a.m. ET | 12:30 p.m. GMT | 11:30 p.m. AEDT | 9:30 p.m. JST, depending on how long the undercard fights last. 

How to watch Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler

Country Date Channel + Live Stream (main card)
United States Tues. Dec 13 ESPN+
Japan Tues. Dec 13 dTV, Hikari TV
United Kingdom Tues. Dec 13 TBA
Australia Tues. Dec 13 Kayo

In the United States, Inoue vs. Butler is available on ESPN+. In Japan, it is available via dTV and Hikari TV. 

In Australia, you can watch the fight via Kayo.

MORE: Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler purse, salaries

Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler price: How much will the fight cost? 

You can pay $9.99 for a monthly subscription to ESPN+ or buy an annual subscription for $99.99.

Product Prices
ESPN+ Monthly Subscription $9.99/month
ESPN+ Annual Subscription $99.99/year
The Disney Bundle w/Hulu Ad-Supported $13.99/month
The Disney Bundle w/Hulu No-Ads $19.99/month

MORE: Sign up to watch Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler, exclusively on ESPN+ 

Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler fight card

  • Naoya Inoue (c) def. Paul Butler (c) for the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring bantamweight titles
  • Yoshiki Takei (c) def. Bruno Tarimo for the OBPF super-bantamweight title
  • Andy Hiraoka (c) def. Min Ho Jung for the WBO Asia Pacific super-lightweight title  
  • Takuma Inoue def. Jake Bornea 
  • Peter McGrail def. Hironori Miyake


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