Naoya Inoue KO’d Juan Carlos Payano after only 1.10 of the first round, and Kiryl Relikh went through 12 tough rounds against Eduard Troyanovsky to score a unanimous win in Sunday’s Ali Trophy Quarter-Finals at the Yokohama Arena, Yokohama,Japan.
“I am going for the KO, I am going to finish him,” said Inoue to reporters in Yokohama shortly before entering a sold-out arena modeled after famous Madison Square Garden.
Flash forward to a stunning, lighting-fast left-right combo from the ’The Monster’ that floored Payano and sent shockwaves throughout the world of boxing.
“I am normally not a person who brags, but I said that I went for the KO to put myself under maximum pressure,” said Inoue.
The 25-year-old local hero, Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) made the first defense of the WBA ‘Regular’ world bantamweight title he won by stopping Britain’s Jamie McDonnell in the first round of his previous fight.
The 34-year-old Payano (20-2, 9 KOs) from the Dominican Republic, a former bantamweight world champion, was stopped for the first time since making his debut eight years ago.
Earlier in the evening, all three judges scored the opening super-lightweight quarter-final of Season II 115-113 in favour of Belarus’ Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs) in his clash with Russia’s Eduard Troyanovsky.
“It was a tough fight,” said 29-year-old Relikh who also defended his WBA Super-Lightweight Championship for the first time. “I went for the KO so I am not happy with my performance. I saw that I hurt him, but I was surprised I couldn’t finish him.”
The 38-year-old Troyanovsky (29-2, 24 KO’s) showed class in the time of the defeat.
“I want to congratulate Kiryl,” said Troyanovsky. “It was an emotional fight, my first 12 rounder, and I want to say thanks to Kiryl for a good fight. I did my best.”
On the same world title triple header card Japanese fighter Ken Shiro, 14-0-(8), retained his WBC light-flyweight title by scoring a seventh round tko win over Milan Melindo,37-4-(13). The end came after 2.47.
Shiro, who was making his fourth title defence, jabbed and moved and was always a step ahead of his Filipino challenger.