Naoya Inoue Vs. Junto Nakatini In What Would Possibly Be “The Biggest All-Japanese Fight In History!?”

By James Slater - 02/27/2024 - Comments

Could specially-talented Japanese ring warriors Naoya Inoue and Junto Nakatini wind up facing each other one day in the not too distant future? This possible, real to life Dream Fight is one Nakatini’s trainer, Rudy Hernandez, spoke about with shortly after his fighter Nakatini’s brilliant and brilliant to watch dismantling of the previously unstopped Alexandro Santiago, which came on February 24 in Tokyo.

Nakatini, who put on a flawless display of hitting and not getting hit that left all observers feeling nothing but hugely impressed, won his third world title with the sixth round stoppage win. Now the WBC bantamweight champion – Nakatini having won belts at flyweight, junior-bantamweight and bantamweight, this in the space of just over three years – the 26 year old looks set for real greatness.

Some fans and experts say “Monster” Inoue, who has reigned at four weights and is of course the current unified ruler at super bantamweight, has already achieved real greatness. Maybe he has, although 30 year old Inoue still aims to do more in the sport, and let’s face it, who is going to be able to stop him (apart from, perhaps, Father Time?)

Well, maybe Nakatini could be the man to inflict the first defeat on Inoue’s record? A fight between Inoue and Nakatini, which is a mere talking point at this stage, if a quite realistic one, would go down as one of the biggest all-Japanese fights in boxing history. Indeed, this is the term, quoted in the above headline, that the article uses when describing this possible, maybe even potential fight.

First up, Nakatini, 27-0(20) aims to have further fights at 118 pounds, this after scoring a most sensational debut at the weight. The gifted southpaw could face ‘the other Inoue’ next, this being Takuma Inoue, who put on an impressive display himself on the February 24 card, becoming the first man to stop Jerwin Ancajas. An obvious angle here would be the revenge angle, for if Nakatini defeated Takuma, big bro Naoya would perhaps crave revenge along with the restoration of the proud family name. Aside from a unification fight with the current WBA bantamweight champ, Nakatini could also face the other two current 118 pound champions, these being Emmanuel Rodriguez and Jason Moloney.

As trainer Hernandez said to Ring, the ideal next fight would be one with Takuma Inoue. But after that, who knows how long after that, could it be Nakatini Vs. Naoya Inoue?

“As far as what’s next, in our perfect world we can unify titles with [Takuma] Inoue, that’s if there’s a chance that fight could be made,” Hernandez said. “Our goal is to retire leaving behind a career we can be proud of. He’s stepping on those [Naoya] Inoue shoes pretty hard now but if that fight can’t happen, we continue to do our job, hoping Junto can claim to be one of the top three fighters ever from Japan.”

Nakatini, if he can clean out the bantamweight division the way Inoue did before moving up to 122, would perhaps become the biggest and most obvious challenge for “The Monster.” And what a monster fight this one really could be. Nakatini, at a tall-for-the-weight 5’7.5,” could quite conceivably be able to make the move up to 122 himself. And all of Japan, along with most of the boxing world, would be watching, probably in awe, as Nakatini and Inoue met in the ultimate Japanese boxing showdown.

If both superb boxers remain unbeaten, a clash between Inoue and Nakatini really could prove to be the biggest little fight of the decade, maybe even the century as far as Japan is concerned. Indeed, this is one Dream Fight that has a good chance of turning into reality.

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