Naoya Inoue: The “Monster” to fight in the USA


Yesterday in Tokyo a press conference was held to announce WBO Jr. Bantamweight titlist Naoya “Monster” Inoue’s (12-0, 10 KO’s) next fight, which will be against Ricardo Rodriguez (16-3, 5 KO’s). The bout will take place on May 21 in Tokyo as part of a world championship doubleheader (IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi will also defend his title on that card). The big news however came following this press conference.

As first reported by, Inoue will make his much-anticipated U.S. boxing debut this September. According to Asian Boxing, there are two options for Inoue’s U.S. debut. Those two options will be either a non-title bout in preparation for a move up to Bantamweight, or a final defense of his Jr. Bantamweight title. All roads seem to lead toward Inoue looking to seek a third world title in the Bantamweight division (Inoue previously won at world title at Lt. Flyweight), possibly against current WBA titleholder Zhanat Zhakiyanov.

Rumors of Inoue possibly fighting in the U.S. have been talked about for the last year. Initial discussion of Inoue coming to the U.S. were in pursuit of a mega showdown against Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. In fact, Inoue was ringside last September when Gonzalez won the WBC Jr. Bantamweight from Carlos Cuadras which fueled the rumor of a clash between two of the best fighters in smaller weight divisions.

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HBO has flirted with the notion of a possible Inoue – Gonzalez showdown making to sure to mention Inoue’s name during each of “Chocolatito’s” appearances on HBO. However with Roman’s recent upset loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai any plans of that possible showdown is on the shelf… for now.

Bottom line is for us boxing geeks that know who Naoya Inoue is and have seen him fight, this is AWESOME news. Only 23 years-old Inoue is the definition of explosive, a boxer with solid technique and fundamentals, but also has shown explosive one-punch power with either hand with the ability to take an opponent out with head and body punches. And with his fast hands and excellent foot movement, Inoue fights with a style that will attract fans and U.S. boxing fans will surely enjoy. Naoya Inoue is a boxer with star potential. Let the countdown begin until we see the debut of Japanese sensation known as “Monster”, Naoya Inoue.

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