New Faces: Takuma Inoue
Hometown: Yokohama, Japan
Weight class: Junior bantamweight
Height / reach: 5-foot-3 (160 cm)/ 67 inches (170 cm)
Amateur record: 52-5 (14)
Turned pro: 2013
Pro record: 6-0, 1 knockout
Trainer: Shingo Inoue
Manager: Hideyuki Ohashi
Promoter: Ohashi Promotions
Best night of pro career: Inoue won seven of the eight rounds versus Thailand’s vastly more experienced Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. when they met two years ago.
“It was my second (pro) bout, with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr.,” Inoue told RingTV.com through Tomoyuki Kataoka. “I prevailed in just my second fight against a world-ranked fighter. I continued pressuring the opponent during the bout with much stamina.”
Worst night of pro career: He is least pleased with his most recent performance.
“It was the bout on Dec. 29, 2015, with Rene Dacquel,” he said. “I won, however I was hit by a relatively big punch. In addition, I could not finish by KO.”
Next fight: On Sunday, Inoue will face Afrizal Tamboresi at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo on the undercard of big brother Naoya’s WBO 115-pound defense against David Carmona.
The 31-year-old Tamboresi’s record currently stands at 12-4 (6). The two most notable names on his resume are Brad Hore (L UD 10) and Rocky Fuentes (L KO 2). Both took place his homeland.
Inoue should be far too good for the likes of Tamboresi. However, it will be interesting to see if Inoue can get the stoppage.
Why he’s a prospect: In the amateur ranks, Inoue won the Inter-High School Athletic competition in August ’11. He later won the Junior Olympic cup in March ’13.
He’s gained valuable sparring with the likes of IBF junior flyweight titlist Akira Yaegashi, fellow prospect Ryo Matsumoto, former world title challenger Rocky Fuentes and a slew of top domestic fighters including Ryo Akaho, Takuya Kogowa, Masuyuki Kuroda and Suguru Muranaka.
Last year Takuma was awarded the RING Magazine Prospect of the Year. It didn’t escape his notice. “It was a great honor for me,” he said proudly.” I was very happy to hear about my winning the prize.”
He is clearly talented but feels his best attributes are his stamina, toughness and ability to keep up a high work rate. His father, Shingo — who trains him alongside Naoya – agrees: “He uses speed and a lot of punches during a bout.”
Both Inoue brothers have been expertly maneuvered by former WBA and WBC strawweight champion Hideyuki Ohashi, head of Ohashi Promotions. He is pleased with Takuma’s development.
“The number of professional bouts he has is relatively small,” said Ohashi. “However, he has the experience to become a world champion because of the tough training every day.”
Mr. Ohashi feels his client is nearing a world title opportunity.
“I would like him to challenge for a world title within this year, 2016,” he said. “If there is any chance, Takuma will fight with any champion. He can become a world champion in three weight classes: junior bantamweight, bantamweight and junior featherweight.
Why he’s a suspect: The 20-year-old ticks all the boxes. He’s got impressive boxing skills, speed, stamina etc. However, there is one thing he appears to be missing: power.
Takuma, his father and Mr. Ohashi all seem to agree on that. Instead of just throwing strong punches the consensus is for him to mix his shots up.
“I would like to be able to throw stronger and weaker punches alternately,” he explained. “I would like to add accents to my punches with respect their strength. If I can do so, I will be able to become a world champion just like my older brother.”
Power is something Naoya seems to possess in abundance. Takuma acknowledges that some people compare the two brothers: “I know that some say so. My strength is the same level as my older brother in sparring. If I can improve and hit strong and weak punches alternately, I am convinced the knockouts will come.”
Story lines: Takuma became interested in boxing because of his older brother Naoya. He first took up boxing when he was still in elementary school.
Boxing is clearly in the Inoue genes. As well as Naoya and Takuma, their cousin Koki is a professional. He considers his brother and boss Mr. Ohashi to be his boxing heroes.
Away from boxing he lives a simple life; he says boxing takes up most of his time and he doesn’t have any hobbies.
Dec. 6 – Tatsuya Fukuhara – UD 6
Apr. 6 – Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. – UD 8
Sept. 5 – Chanachai Sor Siamchai – KO 2
Dec. 30 – Nestor Daniel Narvaes – UD 8
July 6 – Mark Anthony Geraldo – UD 12
Dec. 29 – Rene Dacquel – UD 12
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright