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Jaime Munguia outslugs Takeshi Inoue over 12 rounds to retain 154-pound title

Jaime Munguia attempts to blast Takeshi Inoue with a left uppercut but the Japanese challenger stalked through every power shot. Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos / Golden Boy Promotions
26
Jan

Jaime Munguia racked up another victory, but it didn’t come as easy as expected.

He held off the hard-charging Takeshi Inoue over 12 rounds to retain his WBO junior middleweight title via unanimous decision Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston. Two judges scored it a shutout, 120-108, and the third scorecard read 119-109, but those tallies weren’t truly indicative of the competitive nature of the fight.

Inoue landed plenty of flush overhand rights and never stopped coming forward in his first bid for a title. The native of Japan wasn’t well-known entering the bout, but he displayed mettle, grit and toughness in spades.

The DAZN main event was a slugfest from bell to bell. Munguia (32-0, 26 knockouts) unloaded with 998 shots, most of them punches he fully loaded up on. He connected on 311 of them, and the effect was clearly visible at fight’s end. Inoue’s eyes were both badly swollen, particularly his right, where so many of those Munguia left hooks landed clean.

Inoue (13-1-1, 7 KOs) never wavered. The 29-year-old was far smaller than Munguia — both in height and frame — but was the aggressor throughout. He was able to bully Munguia to the ropes time and again, and that’s where he did the best work. But even when he connected flush, the punches never appeared to faze Munguia.

The 22-year-old native of Tijuana, Mexico, brutalized Inoue to the body, and doubled up often on the left hook. Working with trainer Robert Alcazar for the first time, Munguia used the jab far more often than usual. He pumped it 277 times, though he landed just 35 of those. Still, the lead weapon was an effective punch to dictate range.

Munguia was making the third defense of the 154-pound title he won Sadam Ali in May 2018. Munguia’s developed a large following in a short amount of time, and he’s bound to keep headlining his own cards.

He’s rated No. 3 by The Ring at junior middleweight, but he acknowledged he could jump one division north in the near future. Middleweight titleholder Demetrius Andrade is calling for a fight with Munguia, a challenge the Mexican said he would accept.