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‘Monster’ Inoue may move up to featherweight division ahead of schedule

Sep 02, 2023 16:05 pm

  Newly crowned World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization super bantamweight champion Naoya ‘’the Monster’’ Inoue of Ohashi Boxing Gym said after attending a special program of a satellite broadcasting station as a guest on Sept. 1 he has a world featherweight title in mind in the future.

  Speaking before a group of reporters at the broadcasting station in Tokyo, the 30-year-old Inoue retracted his earlier comment (about the timing to move up to the featherweight division) and said advancing to the featherweight division may come earlier than expected, ‘’say within two to three years.’’

  Inoue said, ‘’If I had felt any uncertainty in my challenge to then WBC and WBO champion Stephen Fulton of the United States, (in which Inoue wrested the titles with a devastating eighth-round technical knockout on July 25), I would not think about moving up to the featherweight division. But since I did not feel any pressure even a millimeter (in the fight with Fulton), I thought my capability is not here (super bantamweight).’’

  At present, Inoue is expected to face World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales of the Philippines probably this year to unify the division’s titles.

  Inoue said he has recently watched the video of Tapales’ fight with Hiroaki Teshigawara of Misako Boxing Gym (in December 2021 in which Tapales knocked out Teshigawara in the second round) and commented, ‘’He can move flexibly and well utilize his upper body. Since he has a good defense technique and a one-punch punching power, he may possibly be stronger than Fulton.’’

  After taking some three-week rest period after the fight with Fulton, Inoue has already resumed his training with his probable fight with Tapales in mind. If the fight with Tapales is formally decided, Inoue said he will start a usual training camp about a month and a half away from the fight.

  If he comes safely his fight with Tapales, Inoue said he will face former three-division world champion John Riel Casimero of the Philippines and former two-division world kingpin Luis Nery of Mexico in addition of Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan, (who dropped a split decision loss to Tapales to lose his WBA and IBF titles in this past April).

  While Inoue used to say he will remain at super bantamweight ‘’for the time being,’’ he said, ‘’I can fight with confidence at featherweight if I clear the fights with all these four boxers.’’

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