Although yet to be announced the talk from Japan, for several weeks now, is that Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] will be challenging WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12) on November 7th as part of the WBSS Bantamweight final show in Saitama.
Today the media was in the Ohashi gym and had the chance to see quite a lot of activity, including Takuma himself training with a former foe, as he steps up preparations for the Oubaali bout.
Takuma's training today saw him working with Mark Anthony Geraldo (37-9-3, 18), the man Inoue actually beat for the OPBF Flyweight title way back in 2015, in what was Inoue's 5th professional bout.
Geraldo has been selected as a sparring partner for Inoue for several reasons, not least because he's a southpaw, like Oubaali, and shares similar height to the French-Moroccan, but also because Gerlado has shared the ring with Oubaali.
The Filipino was actually stopped by Oubaali in a WBC Silver title bout in late 2017, suffering only the second stoppage loss of his career.
Inoue told members of the Japanese press that Gerlado was still strong and that he thought it they would have good sparring. It seems clear he is focused on preparing for Oubaali, despite the details not being totally ironed out for the bout, it's looking likely that we'll see the bout being announced in the not so distant future for the under-card of Naoya Inoue's (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] clash with Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26).
(Image - Nikkan Sports)
Just over a month ago WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion Joe Noynay (18-2-1, 7) scored the biggest win of his career, stopping 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (8-1, 8) [清水 聡]. Following the fight Shimizu under-went some pretty notable surgery following fractures in both orbital bones.
Today, a little over a month since that loss, Shimizu returned to full scale training at the Ohashi Gym in Yokohama, though obviously isn't back to sparring yet.
Speaking to the Japanese press Shimizu revealed he was getting better day by day and that his return to the ring is dependent on his recover, though it does appear that he's looking for a ring return sooner rather than later.
Although was explicitly mentioned it would seem like he is hoping to be recovered by October to potentially prepare for a return bout on the WBSS Bantamweight final card in November, headlined by promotional stablemate Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥]. If that's not possible the second likely date for his return would be late December as part of the next big Fuji TV year ending show.
Last week the WBSS finally announced the date of the Bantamweight final, between Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26), which will take place on November 7th at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Today we saw various small stories emerge in regards to the bout, including the fact that their will some tickets made available through the Ohashi Gym lottery system and the arena is not expected to hold it's maximum capacity, instead being configured for around 22,500 seats.
What was more interesting than the ticket lottery was what Inoue was doing in to prepare for the bout, sparring with two solid Filipino fighters as he looked to amp up his preparations for the November bout.
The Filipino fighters in question were the unbeaten Jade Borena (14-0, 10) and the under-rated Jhon Gemino (20-12-1, 10), who will both bring different things to the ring to test Inoue.
In front of the press today Inoue took part in a 4 round spar with Bornea , showing fantastic crispness to his shots, notably his left hand to the body and left hook.
Gemino and Bornea, who holds a a very notable amateur win over Kosei Tanaka, are scheduled to be in camp with Inoue for around 2 weeks, likely sparring with other Ohashi gym fighters whilst in Japan, before an American is due to join Inoue as he looks to see more styles and more partners in the ring.
(Image credit - Nikkan Sports)
Press Release - 7 August 2019
Spectacular Inoue-Donaire Ali Trophy Final Set for November 7 in Saitama, Japan
Japan’s ‘Monster’ Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs) and legendary Filipino-American Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs) clash for the 118lb Ali Trophy at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on November 7.
Comosa AG, the organiser of the World Boxing Super Series, is delighted to travel to Japan for the bantamweight final.
“The Muhammad Ali Trophy and the best production in boxing arrive in the Land of the Rising Sun for a huge spectacle,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “Two bonafide superstars are going to find out who is the very best in the division and bring home the Ali Trophy.
“Inoue has proved why he is called the Monster, he is a freak of nature, his power from another planet, and the already iconic Donaire, who produced one of the knockouts of the year in his semi-final, is looking as strong as ever in the twilight of his career.
“What a duel, what a conclusion and what an arena. We simply can’t wait to see who of these gladiators will lift the Trophy on November 7!”
Inoue and Donaire have both impressed in the bantamweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series on their way to the final to fight for the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Inoue has sent shockwaves throughout boxing and the wider world of sport with his quarter-final and semi-final performances. The three-weight champ, and current WBA ‘Regular’ and IBF World Bantamweight titlist was already a well-known name in boxing but has become almost a paranormal phenomenon in the quest for the greatest prize in boxing.
Late last year after his famous, electrifying jab-cross’ and ‘Gone in 70 seconds’ win over Juan Carlos Payano, the 26-year-old became the first Japanese national to occupy The Ring cover since the magazine’s foundation in 1922, and following a stunning second-round stoppage of Emmanuel Rodriguez in the semi-final he bolstered his reputation to the top of the pound-for-pound ranks.
The ‘Monster’s total fight time in the tournament is incredible 5 minutes and 29 seconds. Of Inoue’s 18 bouts, impressively 13 were for the world title, but his biggest test to date lies ahead in the shape of Nonito Donaire, the WBC Diamond and WBA ‘Super’ World Bantamweight Champion, who has held multiple world championships in four weight classes.
“I can’t wait for the final,” said Inoue. “Donaire is to me a legend in the sport of boxing, and I am honoured to be sharing the ring with him in the final. But I will do my very best to win against the legend to claim the Ali trophy.”
Said Mr. Ohashi, Inoue’s promoter: “Inoue is known as The Monster' and Nonito Donaire is a legend in the sport. I have always felt these two were destined to fight in the ring. It will be a spectacular finale of a great tournament."
Donaire won his quarter-final, as tournament No 1. seed Ryan Burnett was forced to retire from after four rounds of action due to a lower back injury. And the 36-year-old scored a stunning one-punch 6th round knockout of American Stephon Young in the semi-final; a devastating left hook put Young down and out – after the original opponent, Zolani Tete, had to pull out with a shoulder injury only days before the bout.
Donaire said before watching Inoue’s semi-final against Emmanuel Rodriguez: “Inoue has always supported me in this tournament and we have an unspoken thing that we wanted to face each other in the final.”
On November 7 at the Saitama Super Arena, one of the largest indoor arenas in the world, just north of Tokyo, it’s Judgement Day for the ‘Monster’ and ‘The Filipino Flash’.
“I am looking forward to the final in Japan and a great fight,“ said Donaire. “I have fought several world champions, and I will come well prepared. Inoue is an amazing fighter, but I saw flaws in his semi-final, and I think I can definitely create a game plan against him and win the Ali Trophy.”
Said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Ringstar Sports, Donaire's promoter: “November 7 will be a monstrous night for boxing! They call Inoue ‘The Monster’ but Nonito Donaire is undefeated at bantamweight. He is the real Monster and will yet again show the world why he is a true legend of the sport!”
Fans are advised to sign-up to receive ticket alerts about the Season II Finals here,
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WBSS Season 2 Finals:
After several days of speculation the WBSS finally confirmed that the WBSS Bantamweight final, featuring Japanese boxing star Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino icon Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26), would take place on November 7th at the Super Arena in Saitama.
For both men it's been a collision that they have seemingly wanted since before the WBSS even began, with Inoue wanting to face Donaire in the first round, and the bout would have happened earlier had Ryan Burnett not selected Donaire in the WBSS draft.
To reach the final Donaire has had a rather easy route, with a win over Burnett, who suffered an injury to his back in their bout, and then a brutal KO win over Stephon Young, who was a late replacement for WBO champion Zolani Tete.
Amazingly Inoue route to the final has, arguably, been even easier. He took an opening round win over Juan Carlos Payano and a second round win, in Glasgow, over Emmanuel Rodríguez, creating history as the first Japanese boxer to win a world title fight in Europe with that win.
Through out the tournament both have eyed each other and it has had a touch of "destiny" to it, despite how "easily" both men have reached the final.
The bout, which will unify the IBF, WBA "regular" and WBA "Super" Bantamweight titles, and see the winner pick up the Muhammad Ali Trophy, is one of the most anticipated bouts of the year, and that is shown by the size of the venue selected.
The Super Arena in Saitama is a 37,000 seat venue that hasn't held a boxing event in close to a decade, with the last show there being headlined by Koki Kameda battling Alexander Munoz for the WBA "Regular" Bantamweight title, and Daiki Kameda defending the WBA Flyweight title against Silvio Olteanu. Interestingly that Kameda double header was the third time it was used in 2010, following Takashi Uchiyama defending the WBA Super Featherweight title against Roy Mukhlis and Tomjas Rojas defending the WBA Super Flyweight title against Kohei Kono, in September, and a May card that saw Takashi Uchiyama defending the WBA Super Featherweight title against Angel Granados.
Interestingly it will be only the 12th boxing card at the venue.
Originally the speculation was that the bout would be held in the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, which is a bigger venue, with a capacity of 55,000, though the smaller Super Arena in Saitama would still make this one of the highest attended boing events of 2019.
Whilst a Thursday date is an odd one, especially with the bank holidays in Japan in November, it's not usual for world title fight to take place on week days in the country. Ryota Murata recently defeated Rob Brant on a Friday whilst Kazuto Ioka's historic win over Aston Palicte took place on a Wednesday.
The day could however effect international TV, with DAZN in the US, Sky Sports in the UK at a channel in France all expected to be among the international TV channels screening the bout, along with Japanese TV giant Fuji TV. For European audiences the bout will be held around mid-day, offering fans a lunch time viewing, whilst American fans will perhaps struggle to catch the fight, with it expected to be in the early hours. Notable it was also Fuji who were the lead broadcasters in Ryota Murata's rematch with Rob Brant, which took place on a Friday and was aired on an ESPN platform in the US.
Although not officially announced the card will feature Naoya's younger brother younger brother Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] challenging WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12), as the Inoue's look to monopolise the Bantamweight title picture.
Given Inoue's win over Rodriguez, on tape delay, draw around 10,000,000 viewers on Fuji TV it's fair to say that Fuji are expecting a massive audience for this, and with such a big venue, this will likely go down as one of the biggest events headlined by a Japanese fighter.
Whilst much of the focus is on Inoue it's worth noting that the 36 year old Donaire is himself one of the biggest names in the lower weight classes. This will be his first fight in Japan and his first fight against a Japanese opponent since he beat Toshiaki Nishioka more than 7 years ago. It's also fair to say that he will be well supported as there is a sizeable Filipino population in Japan, with the Filipino's making up the 4th largest foreign community in the country, only behind Chinese, South Korean and Vietnamese, and the Philippines being a short flight from Japan.
More details about this show, such as under-card, will be revealed closer to the show, though we wouldn't be surprised by a rather stacked card, with Fuji likely viewing this and their December card as two big events as they look to establish themselves as the leader in Japanese televised boxing.
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