Brave Paul Butler confidently destroys ‘Monster’ Naoya Inoue

Naoya Inoue Paul Butler

Naoya Inoue of Japan (left) and Paul Butler of England pose for a photo after the weigh-in session before their December 13 bantamweight match, in Yokohama on December 12, 2022. (Photo by Yuichi YAMAZAKI/AFP )

Paul Butler said he “fears no one” as the loser prepares to take on Japan’s undefeated Naoya Inoue in Tokyo on Tuesday to become the undisputed bantamweight world champion.

WBO champion Butler will try to do what no boxer who has faced Inoue to date has done – defeat one of the sport’s best weightlifters and claim the WBC, WBA belts and his IBF.

“Monster” Inoue won all of his 23 fights, including 20 by knockout, and became the first Japanese boxer to top The Ring’s pound-for-pound chart with as the best boxer in all weight classes earlier this year.

Butler (34-2 with 15 KOs) said he is undeterred by the prospect of facing Inoue at home and is pleased with his preparation after equalizing on Monday.

“He’s a man – he’s a man with two arms and two legs,” the 34-year-old Briton told AFP.

“What he does in the ring is what he does, but I fear no one. That’s what I’m looking forward to, to get in there and challenge myself.”

The winner of Tuesday’s bout will become the first undisputed bantamweight world champion since the four-belt era began in 2004.

“It’s a huge achievement so it means a lot,” Butler said.

“It makes sense to do it in front of my fans who have been to Japan. That would be a great achievement.”

Inoue failed to gain weight on the first try, before returning a few minutes later and squeezing below the 118-pound limit.

The 29-year-old dismissed the mistake and said he remains focused on completing his bantamweight title collection with Butler’s WBO belt.

“I have a lot of different strategies and I’m going to get into the ring, then I’ll instinctively decide how to play,” Inoue said.

“Butler’s tactics are generally pretty fixed, but nothing is pre-determined with my boxing. I will decide how to attack after facing him.”


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