Naoya Inoue To Campaign At 122: “I Think I Will Remain Here”

Inoue Says He's Found a New Home At Junior Featherweight

Naoya Inoue to campaign at 122
Naoya Inoue to campaign at 122 | credit: Alvin S. Go

Naoya Inoue Aims to Stay at 122 For the Foreseeable Future


There seems to be no limits for newly crowned unified junior featherweight champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs). Fans and pundits are already debating how far up in weight he can go. But when it comes to the fighter and his team, the plan is to make 122 pounds their home for the foreseeable future.

Inoue is still in a celebratory mood following his eighth-round stoppage over Stephen Fulton to win the junior featherweight belts on July 25 in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese superstar held a press conference in Yokohama, Japan to talk about his most recent bout.

STAYING PUT

Monster said he’s proud of his achievement. Inoue vacated the undisputed bantamweight title to fight Fulton, and said he feels stronger at 122. When asked whether has any plans on moving up to 126, the 30-year-old told the local media there are no plans to go up again in weight anytime soon.

(Translated from Japanese) “Even if I get good results and unify all four titles in this division, I think I will remain here. It would take three years to remake my body properly (to fight as a featherweight).”

Based on how he looked against Fulton, there are some in the boxing community who believe Inoue could easily make the transition from junior featherweight to featherweight. But the resident of Yokohama is someone who takes his physical conditioning seriously.

He began his career at junior flyweight and has won world titles at 108, 115, 118, and now 122 pounds. While it’s tempting to move up a division, Inoue understands his body has to adjust itself to the extra weight. That only comes with time and additional fights.

READY TO DO MORE DAMAGE

Given that physical reality, Inoue wants to become undisputed at junior featherweight. He wants his next fight to be against Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19 KOs), the other unified champion at junior featherweight.

Inoue’s remarks at the presser in Yokohama were in concert with comments from his manager, Hideyuki Ohashi, who confirmed that plans are underway to try to make a fight between Inoue and Tapales by the end of this year. Ohashi added that Inoue could potentially defend the belts against either three-division champion John Riel Casimero or former WBC bantamweight champion Luis Nery.

There’s an urge for Inoue to physically test the boundaries. But Monster is putting his foot down and content to stay where he is. For the time being, junior featherweight is his new resting place.

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About Mike W.1996 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.