Team Inoue Unveils Their Plans For 2022
Ranked number five in the latest 3KingsBoxing Top Ten fighter ratings, Naoya “Monster” Inoue (22-0, 19 KOs) has proven himself to be one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world. In December 2021, he defended the IBF/WBA bantamweight titles with an easy eight-round stoppage over outmanned Thailander Aran Dipaen.
EYES ON THE NEW YEAR
Naoya Inoue now has his sights set on 2022. According to source Asian Boxing, his co-promoter, Hideyuki Ohashi, held a press event for local media in Japan detailing their plans. The promoter disclosed that Inoue is back in training. They hope that he can return to the ring in April with the goal of a unification match against either WBO champ Jon Riel Casimero or WBC belt-holder Nonito Donaire.
In 2021, “Monster” expressed a desire to campaign in the junior featherweight division. That was confirmed by Ohashi, who said the following:
“I think we will move to the super bantamweight class by the end of the year.”
SCORES TO SETTLE
One would hope Team Inoue carries out their intentions to fight either Casimero or Donaire before making that decision. Casimero has openly disrespected him for several years. On general principle alone, Inoue would love to fight Casimero to shut him up. Donaire and Inoue went tooth and nail in their 2019 Fight of the Year. Fans would love to see a rematch.
When it comes to junior featherweight, which fighter Inoue has eyes on facing was not disclosed by Ohashi. However, options are certainly available. The best fighters in the division are IBF/WBA champ Murodjon Akhmadaliev and WBC/WBO champ Stephen Fulton. While both men are unified champions at 122, neither carry the name recognition nor the worldwide appeal of Inoue. Both men would jump at the chance to face him, even it meant traveling to Japan to do so.
At this point, all activity in both divisions centers around the 27-year-old Japanese power puncher. Fighters, fans, and pundits are all paying close attention to what moves Inoue will make this year.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.