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Emanuel Navarrete wants Naoya Inoue at 122-pounds

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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WBO super bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete 31-1 (27) is calling for a fight against undefeated Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue 19-0 (16) before he moves up in weight.

WBA and IBF bantamweight champion Inoue, 27, won the final of the World Boxing Super Series with a thrilling 12-round victory over wily veteran Nonito Donaire last November.

Inoue was scheduled to face WBO 118-pound champion John Riel Casimero in Las Vegas this Saturday before the bout was scrapped due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

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The 25-year-old Navarrete is hoping that a fight with Inoue can be made before he steps up to the featherweight division.

“If we get through this [pandemic] quickly, and there is interest from the Japanese fighter. I believe it will be easier to make a fight with him than with any other fighter at 122,” Navarrete said.

“But it’s like I just mentioned. There is no interest from their part. He really did what he wanted at 118 and then he sent out a release saying that he was going to move up to 122, my division.

“When he did it, I saw the possibility of fighting him because he signed with Top Rank, but after that, he said he was going to face John Riel Casimero. They were supposed to face each other in April.

“I don’t know if it will happen, but if it happens, it will have to be right after we get through the pandemic. It would have to happen right away because the truth is that I’m seriously thinking of moving up to 126 and the only thing that could keep me at 122 would be a big fight against Inoue or a possible unification against one of the champions.

“That is the reality of why I would stay around at 122. If it’s not that way, I will move up to 126.”

Navarrete, of Mexico, won the WBO 122-pound championship from Isaac Dogboe in December 2018 and defended the belt four times last year.

In his last outing, Navarrete stopped Jeo Santisima in 11 frames in Las Vegas in February.

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