Naoya Inoue’s return to action was worth the wait. The Japanese dynamo was his customary destructive self tonight, beating down and extremely tough and game Jason Moloney over seven rounds.
Inoue (20-0, 17 KO) immediately took control of the bout with lancing jabs, keeping the infight-happy Moloney (21-2, 18 KO) at bay during the first two rounds. Once the third rolled around, however, he seemed to shift into seek-and-destroy mode; while this gave Moloney opportunities to land the heavy hooks he’s known for, the Aussie simply lacked the power to budge Inoue.
Inoue had no such difficulties. He rattled Moloney with a pump-fake right cross in the fifth, then caught him swinging with a perfect check hook a round later for the fight’s first knockdown.
This counter left ... @naoyainoue_410 drops Moloney early in Round 6, as his speed and aggressiveness has proven to be a lethal combo so far.#InoueMoloney | LIVE NOW on ESPN+ pic.twitter.com/oiMaufZVjx— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) November 1, 2020
To his credit, Moloney did an admirable job of moving and holding to survive until the bell. Having found success with the counter, however, Inoue reverted to his jab-heavy pressure in the seventh. His offense ultimately prompted Moloney to load up on a right hand in the last 20 seconds, which Inoue met with a crushing cross that folded Moloney in a manner reminiscent of Ivan Baranchyk’s collapse against Jose Zepeda. Unlike “The Beast,” “Mayhem” remained conscious, but proved unable to rise under his own power. resulting in a TKO finish at 2:59.
The win marked Inoue’s first since last November’s brutal war with Nonito Donaire.
“The Monster” will presumably look to once again set up a unification clash with WBO champion John Riel Casimero. The two were slated to meet in April before COVID intervened, and when rescheduling proved infeasible, Casimero stayed busy with a knockout of then-unbeaten Duke Micah. That one should be every bit the barnburner this one was.
Mikaela Mayer UD-10 Ewa Brodnicka
Mayer (14-0, 5 KO) is officially a world champion, decisively claiming the WBO super featherweight title Poland’s Brodnicka (19-1, 2 KO) lost on the scale yesterday.
Mayer was simply too busy, too powerful, and too persistent for Brodnicka, who was fighting outside her home country for the first time. Brodnicka didn’t do herself any favors with her gameplan; while she showed good footwork and put together nice combinations at range while Mayer marched after her, she insisted on holding at every opportunity, giving Mayer free reign to tee off on her midsection from point-blank range. She continued to hold even as Mayer banked rounds through activity and the referee gave her three “last warnings;” the ESPN+ crew suggested that Brodnicka was used to favorable treatment from referees, and considering it took two point deductions to make her stop, that sounds plausible.
Even when she tried to actually box Mayer, though, she still ended up on the wrong end of their rapid-fire exchanges as Mayer landed the more telling blows. Brodnicka ultimately claimed just a single round on a single judge’s scorecard, suffering a clean sweep on the other two.
Mayer immediately called out WBC champ Terri Harper afterwards and had previously expressed a desire to unify against Maiva Hamadouche (IBF) and Hyun Mi Choi (WBA). She’ll have to wait a bit for a crack at Harper, as the Brit is slated to face mandatory challenger Katharina Thanderz in two weeks.