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Naoya Inoue on track for US return, says Bob Arum

Anthony Cocks

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Top Rank boss Bob Arum has revealed WBA and IBF bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue 19-0 (16) is on track to breakthrough in the US market early next year despite suffering facial injuries in his last bout.

The 26-year-old Japanese phenom won the World Boxing Super Series earlier this month with a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision win over evergreen veteran Nonito Donaire 40-6 (26) but he didn’t have things all his own way, suffering a cut eye, a fractured orbital bone and a fractured nose.

Arum says the injuries were not as severe as first thought and wouldn’t derail his plans to bring Inoue to the US early in the new year.

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“Obviously, I was concerned, but the reports I got from Mr. Honda was that the injuries were not too severe, and that he should be ready to return in March or April,” Arum said to Fighthype.

“We really worked hard in signing Inoue. I consider him one of the great fighters of our time, and his promoter is coming to Las Vegas for the November 30 show.

“I’ll get a chance to talk to him. We’ll bring Inoue back as soon as he can compete against a top 118-pounder, and we’re making a deal for two fights a year with the MGM [Grand in Las Vegas].”

The veteran promoter said he was blessed to have a fully formed talent on his hands that didn’t need to be developed.

“I think Inoue is a special talent. Some kids are talented, but you have to develop them, because they’re babies, like Shakur [Stevenson] and Teofimo Lopez until they’re ready to fly,” Arum said.

“Now we’ve got blessed, which you don’t get very often in boxing, with a full-grown talent already grown without us. And now we’ve got to make him a big superstar, and that’s what we’re going to do. So the idea is for him to do two fights in the United States, and one fight in Japan every year.”

Inoue has fought just one in the US in the past when he defended his WBO super flyweight title against Antonio Nieves in Los Angeles two years ago.

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