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Boxing: Inoue driven by hunger to please fans

Japanese boxer Naoya Inoue attends a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on June 27, 2022. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Naoya Inoue, the first Japanese boxer to top the pound-for-pound rankings published by the prestigious Ring boxing magazine, revealed Monday his appetite to please fans is the source of his strength.

    The 29-year-old claimed an emphatic second-round knockout win over Nonito Donaire of the Philippines in the world bantamweight title unification bout on June 7, becoming the first from his country to hold belts from three different sanctioning bodies.

    "It's not just getting the win, but doing so through creating a climax before knocking the opponent out," Inoue told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo.

    "I believe my desire to show wonderful matches to the fans is leading to the results."

    Inoue's win over Donaire, who held five different world titles over the course of his career, was followed by the news of him rising to the summit of the PFP rankings three days later -- something that left the "Monster" happy.

    "I'm satisfied to get the PFP top rank following a performance that couldn't be better," Inoue said. "I believe my style of knocking out the opponent was recognized and allowed me to go above in the rankings featuring many heavyweight boxers."

    Holding WBC, WBA, and IBF world titles, the WBO crown currently held by Britain's Paul Butler is now the only hurdle left in Inoue's quest to conquer bantamweight belts from all four sanctioning bodies.

    Inoue said negotiations are going well to hold the bout within this calendar year.

    "In part for the sake of my standing as the PFP top ranker, I want to unify the four bodies before going up to the super bantamweight, a new stage where I want to take on a challenge," Inoue said.

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