The last time he was in action, Japanese star Naoya Inoue was involved in a great fight that was pure entertainment, pure drama and pure action. Rewind to November of last year, and “The Monster” was trading leather with the classy Nonito Donaire, the 12 rounds sending everyone home very happy. It was The Fight Of The Year, and in it, Inoue showed he can take a crack just as well as he can land a cracking punch.
Now, almost a year later, the bantamweight champ will return against once-beaten Australian warrior Jason Moloney. This Saturday’s fight in Las Vegas will go ahead on the same night as some other big and interesting fights – Tank Davis-Leo Santa Cruz and Oleksandr Usyk-Dereck Chisora being potential classics – but for many, the WBA/IBF bantamweight title fight is the one to tune in for.
27-year-old Inoue, 19-0(16) and a fighter present on most pound-for-pound lists, spoke with Ringtv.com, and “The Monster” said the hard fight with Donaire will serve to make him a better fighter.
“The Donaire fight was surely the toughest fight of my career thus far,” Inoue, who suffered a broken orbital bone in the Donaire battle, told Ring. “But it was also a fight where I gained a lot of experience and that will make me a better fighter. The injury I suffered has fully recovered. I’ve been sparring after the New Year’s holidays and it hasn’t affected my training. Maloney has top-level technique and the stamina to fight the full 12 rounds. I hope to show my tactical technique together with the aggressiveness in the ring.”
And fight fans who are not Maloney supporters hope to see Inoue get back to his thrilling KO ways. Inoue has laid out a number of fine fighters and going into the Donaire fight he was sporting eight straight knockouts/stoppages – one of them over Emanuel Rodriguez (KO2), the only man to have beaten Maloney (SD12). Maybe this is why Inoue is listed as a considerable favorite to win on Saturday; with Maloney currently down as 6/1 against. Maloney, though, is as excited as he is confident going into the fight.
As to what may come next if (his fans say when) Inoue gets the win on Halloween Night, a certain John Riel Casimero – who Inoue was to have fought back in April until the coronavirus struck – may well be accommodated quite soon. Casimero unleashed a torrent of verbal abuse upon Inoue after his September stoppage of Duke Micah, suggesting his rival was afraid of him. Inoue has no intention of avoiding the WBO champ.
“I would like to fight Casimero as soon as possible to unify the belts, but, for now, I’m focused on defeating Maloney,” Inoue told Ring. “I don’t have any [other] names at the moment, but after I get through Maloney, I think opponent names will be presented that everyone will be excited to see.”
All Inoue fights are exciting affairs and it will indeed be very interesting to see who he will fight next. But Maloney, 21-1(18) is no fighter to be written off. Brace yourself for a great fight on Saturday night.