It has got to be tough to make your way in any field where your older brother has already established himself as a prodigy. I cannot help wondering if this is an issue for Japanese super flyweight Takuma Inoue.
Takuma’s older brother, Naoya, looks to be the greatest potential talent of his generation. While he is only 10 fights into his professional career, it barely seems premature to speculate about him becoming the greatest Japanese fighter of all time.
In April 2014, the older Inoue sibling knocked out veteran champion Adrian Hernandez to claim the WBC light flyweight title in just his sixth fight. That was a remarkable achievement, but nothing compared to what he would accomplish in December, when he jumped over the flyweight division and knocked out long-time WBO super flyweight champion Omar Narvaez in just two rounds. At the time, Narvaez had lost just once in 46 fights, against Nonito Donaire, when he jumped up to bantamweight. At the time of that fight, Donaire was rated as a pound-for-pound star.
So Takuma is not just trying to get himself started in the brutal sweet science of bruising. He is doing it in the shadow of a budding superstar.
So far he has been holding his own. While he lacks his older brother’s stunning power, he has shown a similar ability to successfully handle older, much more experienced opponents. He beat a 12-3-3 fighter in his debut and a 23-2 opponent in his second fight. His fifth pro fight was a 12 rounder, and he easily handled fringe contender Mark Anthony Geraldo. He actually beat Geraldo by margins similar to future world champion McJoe Arroyo.
He has another one Saturday night when he faces Froilan Saludar of the Philippines. Saludar has definitely built up his 23-1-1 resume in large part against club fighters, but he has also been in the ring with legitimate world-class talent like McWilliams Arroyo.
This will likely not be Inoue’s toughest fight to date. But at this point, every bout he fights is worth taking note of.