Home Boxing News Luis Nery targeting Naoya Inoue after stopping Azat Hovhannisyan in eleven

Luis Nery targeting Naoya Inoue after stopping Azat Hovhannisyan in eleven

Luis Nery. Photo credit: Ryan Hafey

Former WBC bantamweight and super bantamweight champion Luis ‘Pantera’ Nery 34-1 (26) wants to test his mettle against Japanese superstar Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue 24-0 (21).

The 28-year-old Mexican southpaw had to walk through fire on Saturday night to stop hard-nosed Armenian Azat ‘Crazy A’ Hovhannisyan 21-4 (17) in the penultimate round of their world title eliminator.

“I was surprised. I thought I was going to knock him out in the fifth round. I worked in the fifth round, but if I didn’t knock him out in the fifth round, I was going to go in the later rounds,” Nery said to FightHubTV.

At 29, former undisputed bantamweight champion Inoue has already held world titles in three separate weight classes and will be looking to make it four when he takes on WBC and WBO 122-pound champion Stephen ‘Cool Boy’ Fulton 21-0 (8) in late April or early May in Tokyo, Japan.

While Nery is keen to face Inoue, he admits it is an even match-up with Fulton.

“We’re looking for Inoue, we think it’s a big fight and we’re going to finish him,” Nery said. “I see the fight ending by knockout. He’s a fighter that stands in front of you and is brave, and I do the same thing. So it’ll be a knockout.

“I’m here to fight anyone that is out there, but we would like Inoue. The styles. I see Fulton as much bigger than Inoue and 50-50.”

Nery is now three fights removed from his lone professional loss to Brandon Figueroa 23-1-1 (18). In that bout just under two years ago he was stopped by a body shot in the seventh.

It proved to be just the wake up call that Nery needed.

“That fight was the best thing that ever happened to me because, honestly, it opened my eyes outside of the ring and I made changes and here are the results,” Nery said. “I’m here to fight whoever and I’m going to dedicate myself to training.”

The Hovhannisyan fight was promoted as a surefire war and it didn’t disappoint. Although Nery eventually prevailed, Hovhannisyan was always dangerous and his power did some damage.

“Yes, there were punches that bothered me, especially when he grabbed me, which was a little bit dirty on his part, and he grabbed me and hit me in the body,” Nery said.

“Of course it was bothering me, but nothing to worry about since the ninth round. In the ninth round, I knew I was going to finish him before the 11th or 12th. He was hurt every time I punched him and I knew he was getting hurt. I knew ‘this guy is mine’.”

Asked if he was hurt by Hovhannisyan, Nery replied: “Only swollen. Nothing to worry about. I’m good.”