Naoya Inoue stops Kohei Kono in 6th round to retain world title

Junior bantamweight Naoya "Monster" Inoue retained his world title by flattening former titleholder and Japanese countryman Kohei Kono in the sixth round on Friday at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo.

Inoue (12-0, 10 KOs), 23, retained his 115-pound belt for the fourth time as he dominated the 36-year-old Kono (32-10-1, 13 KOs).

Inoue, who was ahead 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the judges' scorecards, knocked Kono flat on his back with a left hook in the sixth round. Kono beat the count, but Inoue was all over him when the fight resumed, unleashing a series of clean blows to send him to the mat again, prompting referee Robert Byrd to wave off the fight without a count at 1 minute, 1 second.

This was Kono's second loss in a row, having lost a junior bantamweight world title in his previous fight, a unanimous decision, to Panama's Luis Concepcion on Aug. 31, also in Tokyo.

On the undercard, junior flyweight world titleholder Akira Yaegashi (25-5, 13 KOs) of Japan retained his 108-pound belt for the second time in a 12th-round knockout of Thailand's Wittawas Basapean (31-6, 12 KOs).

Coming off a rotator-cuff injury, Yaegashi, 33, who has also won world titles at flyweight and strawweight, was in total control going into the final round. He had dished out a beating to Basapean, 32, also known as Samartlek Kokietgym, and was leading 110-99, 109-100 and 109-98 on the judges' scorecards.

As Yaegashi continued to pound Basapean in the 12th round, referee Gerard Whyte stepped in to call off the fight at 2:13.

Yaegashi is now obligated to face interim titlist Milan Melindo (35-2, 12 KOs), 28, of the Philippines, within 120 days.

In another bout on the show, middleweight Ryota Murata (12-0, 9 KOs), 30, a 2012 Japanese Olympic gold medalist, knocked out Bruno Sandoval (19-2-1, 15 KOs), 25, of Mexico, at 2:53 of the third round.

Murata landed a powerful right hand that sent Sandoval to the mat, but referee Yuji Fukuchi missed it completely. He ruled that Sandoval had slipped, and even though he was flat on his back and not moving, Fukuchi attempted to pull him up to his feet. Sandoval tried to get up, but he fell to the mat twice more, prompting Fukuchi to finally count him out.