Naoya Inoue Says If he Cannot Get Unification Fights At 118, He Will Look At Moving Up

By James Slater - 12/15/2021 - Comments

Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue, the reigning IBF/WBA bantamweight champion, looked bored at times during yesterday’s fight with the little-known Aran Dipaen. “The Monster” in Inoue finally surfaced in the 7th round, when the Thai challenger was hurt bad, and then Inoue closed the show in the following session. But Inoue did not show his best stuff, and this may be due to him needing a big challenge (no disrespect to Dipaen, who showed amazing toughness, durability and heart in yesterday’s fight in Tokyo).

Inoue spoke after picking up his 22nd career win how he now wants unification fights with either Nonito Donaire, the WBC ruler, in what would be a return fight, and/or John Riel Casimero, the WBO champ, this being a fight that should have happened by now, only for the coronavirus to mess things up. Speaking with Japanese media after yesterday’s mark-time fight/win, Inoue said that if these fights do not get made, he will look at moving up to super-bantamweight.

“I’ve been placing a lot of importance on unifying the four belts, but if the individual fights don’t happen, I’ll start thinking about the super-bantamweight title,” Inoue said.

Casimero, who pulled out of his scheduled fight with Paul Butler on Saturday in Dubai (possibly due to having weight problems, officially due to medical reasons), may actually be stripped of his belt as The WBO wish to see medical proof of the ailment that forced him to withdraw from the Butler fight. As for the amazingly impressive Donaire, who shows zero signs of slowing down or losing his enthusiasm at age 39, he has called for a return with Inoue, who won a decision over him in a thrilling encounter in November of 2019.

Both unification fights would be most welcome by the fas. But an Inoue move up to 122 pound would also be interesting. The current super-bantamweight champions are: Stephen Fulton, WBC/WBO, and Murodjon Akhmadaliev, WBA/IBF. Inoue against either man would be most interesting, and very likely explosive.

Inoue has had a pretty disappointing year this year, with just two fights, both against heavy underdogs. Inoue against Donaire and/or Casimero in 2022 would go a ways to making up for it, as would Inoue versus Fulton and/or Akhmadaliev. Inoue is a fighter who only shows his best stuff when he’s really got something to fight for.

1 thought on “Naoya Inoue Says If he Cannot Get Unification Fights At 118, He Will Look At Moving Up”

  1. Why cant get…its just simple..just make a date to whom you gonna fight with then tahts it..very simple..
    But if you scared just tell…ok..

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