Home Boxing News Naoya Inoue wants one more fight at bantamweight before moving up in...

Naoya Inoue wants one more fight at bantamweight before moving up in weight

Naoya Inoue. Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda

WBC, WBA and IBF bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue 23-0 (20) has revealed his plans for the future and they are pretty impressive.

The 29-year-old Japanese powerhouse wants to become undisputed at 118-pound division before moving up in weight again in an attempt to do the same at super bantamweight.

The first step in his ambitious plan will require him to defeat WBO titleholder Paul Butler 34-2 (15) of England to claim the only major title that isn’t currently in his grasp.

Butler claimed the vacant interim strap when in April when he scored a clear-cut points decision over Jonas Sultan 18-6 (11) in Liverpool. He was elevated to full champion status after former titleholder John Riel Casimero 31-4 (21) was forced to withdraw from the Butler bout after breaching the British Boxing Board of Control’s weight cutting rules.

Inoue was in action earlier this month when he wrested the WBC belt from veteran Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire 42-7 (28) by second round knockout. The bout was a rematch of their 2019 Fight of the Year that went the distance. Inoue won by unanimous decision but not before having his eye socket shattered.

The Ring magazine currently rates Inoue as the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world, replacing undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 57-2-2 (39) after the Mexican superstar dropped a wide points decision to WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol 20-0 (11).

It’s a position Inoue wants to maintain.

“People were saying that me becoming the number one pound-for-pound fighter all depended on what happened in the Donaire fight, and things worked out as well as I could have imagined,” Inoue said to France 24.

“From here on, I want to give performances worthy of the number one pound-for-pound fighter. In order to do that, I need to unify the bantamweight world titles and then take on the super bantamweight division.”

WBA and IBF super bantamweight Murodjon Akhmadaliev 11 (8) successfully defended his titles against Ronny Rios 33-4 (16) by 12th round knockout in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday night.

Stephen Fulton 21-0 (8) holds the WBC and WBO straps at 122-pounds.

“If it happens by the end of this year, I don’t care whether it happens in Japan, the US or Britain,” Inoue said. “It doesn’t really matter to me. I want the fight wherever it is.

“[I always want to] show everyone who comes to watch me what I can do. I think that’s how I’ve been able to get my record of 23 wins with 20 knockouts. I always try to knock out my opponent and I think that’s been recognized. I’d like to think when I turn 35, I will be able to look back and think I was happy that I became a boxer. If I’m able to feel that, I think I’ll be content.”