Naoya Inoue Responds To Comments That Say He Needs To Fight In The US

By James Slater - 04/13/2024 - Comments

Japanese superstar, Naoya Inoue – who absolutely is a superstar in his native Japan, no doubt about it – has responded to the comments made this week that he needs to fight big fights in America to be really considered a great. The comments, made by former welterweight champ Shawn Porter and being heard on Pro Box TV, basically said Inoue needs to box in the US if he’s to sufficiently increase his profile.

Porter said, “In boxing, you’ve got to come to the US, you’ve got to cross those seas and knock down some Americans to make these other Americans (the US fight fans) take notice of what you’re doing. There’s a lot of people who respect Inoue and what he’s doing. But if you’re someone like me, you’re saying, ‘Hey, let’s get him out of his own backyard, get him a little uncomfortable and see how he handles the energy when he’s not at home.”

Inoue is of course not the first non-American fighter to be criticised, at least to some degree, for not fighting in the US. Joe Calzaghe is a great fighter who springs to mind, with it taking the Welshman the longest time before he finally boxed big fights in America, this at the end of his career. Joe was called out by fight figures numerous times for his desire to stay at home and fight. But Inoue HAS fought in the US, back in June of 2021 when he stopped Michael Dasmarinas in three rounds in Las Vegas. While in his fight before that one, Inoue stopped Jason Moloney in Vegas. Also, as far as fighting away from home, Inoue, 26-0(23) has fought in Scotland. So, Inoue has at least shown he can handle boxing away from the comforts of home, even if all but four of his pro fights have taken place in Japan.

Of course it would be great to see Inoue, who is a truly special talent, box a big fight in America, but does the location of any fighter’s fights really make that much of a difference when it comes to rating them? The great Carlos Monzon boxed just one fight in the US, yet nobody seems to hold this against him or his legacy. And why should they?

Inoue, who is next set to face Luis Nery at the Tokyo Dome, has taken to social media to give a short response to the comments made by Porter.

“In response to the comment saying he should come to America and play a match??? The home of the lightweight division (the lower weight divisions) is now here in Japan,” Inoue wrote. “If you want to see the game, come to Japan. If there is something better than what is available in the Japanese market in America, I would be happy to go. That’s all worth it here in Japan.”

Why would Inoue need to come to America? To repeat, this future Hall of Famer has already boxed in the US, so he has it on his CV. And Inoue regularly pulls in enormous, record crowds when he fights in Japan, his fights being genuine events watched by many millions of people. It’s a great big world and there is more to the great sport of boxing than boxing in America. Inoue certainly isn’t fearful of fighting abroad, in the US or any place else…..he simply doesn’t need to do it.

Or maybe you agree with Porter and others, and you feel “The Monster” does need to leave Japan for a big fight or two? But as great as he is, as great as he has shown himself to be, can any man at 122 pounds possibly beat Inoue….. wherever the fight is held?