Naoya Inoue has made an electrifying start to his World Boxing Super Series campaign after landing a brutal knockout on quarterfinal opponent Juan Carlos Payano, in the first round of their contest in Tokyo.
Inoue [17-0, 15 KOs] is the second seed in the inaugural WBSS bantamweight tournament, behind Britain's Ryan Burnett, but in a performance that will have put the rest of the field on notice, Inoue was able to land punch after punch on Payano (20-2, 9 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, before sending him tumbling to the canvas after just 70 seconds with a perfectly timed straight right hand -- leaving referee Pinit Prayadsab with no option but to wave off the contest.
Inoue is set to face the winner of IBF titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez's ((18-0, 12 KOs) bout with Jason Maloney (17-0, 14 KOs) in the semifinals with the pair going head-to-head in Orlando, Florida on Oct. 20.
Inoue has not yet been taken beyond a round in 2018, adding Payano's scalp to his first round knockout of Jamie McDonnell earlier this year.
In the co-feature contest, WBA champion Kiryl Relikh booked his spot in the super-lightweight tournament's semifinals with a unanimous decision victory over Eduard Troyanovsky. The Belarusian took the fight 115-113 on all three judges' scorecards.