Earlier this week the WBA's Classifications committee have decided to recognise Japanese star Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] as their "unified champion", following his IBF title victory this past weekend against Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12).
The WBA referred to their own rules to make the decision, citing "C17" which allowed the Committee and President to recognise world champions as a unified champion if they are recognised as "quintessential monarch" by one or more of the other sanctioning bodies. In this case the IBF.
As the unified champion Inoue will have 18 months to make a mandatory defense, not the normal 9, though it's a little unclear as to when that 18 month period actually starts.
As we all know that Inoue's next bout will see him face off against Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) in the WBSS final, later this year. Confusingly, though that's nothing new when we talk about the WBA, the bout will see Inoue unifying his Unified Championship with the WBA Super title of Donaire.
A cynical fan, ahem, would suggest this decision from the WBA allows them to have a regular title fight later in the year, potentially pitting some leading contenders against each other, whilst awaiting for the WBSS final in the fall.
Sauerland: “Is Inoue going to win the Ali Trophy in 10 minutes?! What a Monster!”
Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer wraps up Saturday’s semi-finals and looks forward to the cruiserweight semi-final showdowns on June 15 at the Arena Riga in Riga, Latvia.
“What a night of boxing it was,” said Sauerland of Saturday’s breathtaking doubleheader at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow. “Taylor is already now a Scottish legend after a terrific performance against another true warrior. This sets up a 50-50 final against Prograis. Both fighters seem very confident of going all the way and it really could go either way.
“Inoue proved again why he is called the Monster, his power is simply from another planet. His total fight time in the tournament is now 5 minutes and 29 seconds, and neither Payano or Rodriguez had ever been dropped before. I mean, is this guy going to win the tournament in 10 minutes?!
“Inoue is clearly a phenomenon, absolutely unbelievable. And it is going to be a sensational final against Nonito Donaire, who produced one of the knockouts of the year in his semi-final and has been looking very comfortable and strong at bantamweight. It is going to be a huge spectacle.”
The WBSS returns on June 15 with an amazing doubleheader at the Arena Riga: Mairis Briedis vs Krzysztof Glowacki and Yunier Dorticos vs Andrew Tabiti for spots in the cruiserweight final.
“We cannot wait to find our last finalists for the Ali Trophy,” said Sauerland. “But is it impossible to predict winners in these explosive match-ups. The throne in cruiserweight is empty and all four have the potential to be the new king.
“Briedis is obviously excited for the chance at redemption after dropping a majority decision to Usyk in last year’s semi-final, but he is up against a hard-hitting warrior in shape of Glowacki who has promised to bring war to Riga.
“Dorticos and Tabiti have a very entertaining beef right now going on at social media, and they both want to prove they are the best cruiserweight in the world. One thing is certain, we are in for another treat on June 15!”
The WBSS returns on June 15 with a sensational doubleheader at the Arena Riga in Riga, Latvia: Mairis Briedis vs Krzysztof Glowacki and Yunier Dorticos vs Andrew Tabiti for spots in the cruiserweight final.
Tickets for the hotly-anticipated semi-final in Riga are on sale from: bilesuserviss.lv
WBSS Season 2 Semi-Finals:
27 April - Cajundome, Lafayette, LA, USA
On Saturday was saw Inoue-Mania leave it's wake on the UK with Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] stopping Puerto Rican fighter Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12) in 2 rounds, in their WBSS semi-final bout. Since then there has been a host of sub stories regarding the monster, who arrived back in Japan earlier today (May 21st).
Upon arriving back in Japan the IBF, WBA "Regular" and Ring Magazine Bantamweight champion the champion was met by a large gathering of fans and press at Haneda airport, and he spoke about his time in the UK, his fight with Rodriguez and his wish to have the WBSS final, against Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) in Japan.
For the first time Naoya admitted publicly that he was angry about the way the Rodriguez team treat his 47 year old father Shingo at the public work out. Inoue senior was famously pushed by Rodriguez's trainer William Cruz for taking photo's at the work out, something a lot of the media was also doing. Naoya admitted that he thought about making a point to the corner of Puerto Rican after dropping Rodriguez for the first time, and it you watch the fight back you can see him give a glance to to the red corner after dropping Rodriguez. He apparently chose not to say anything due to "boxing being a sport".
He's now planning to take a break from training, for mental reasons, but is said to be physically fine to resume training, and it does seem like their could be some gentle exercises for the champion after a short break.
As was rumoured a few days ago, the Kyocera Osaka Dome was again hinted at being the best Japanese venue for the WBSS final between the Monster and the "Filipino Flash", with only a handful of Japanese venues really being suited to the WBSS production and expected crowd. Apparently there isn't expected to be a suitable, and available, venue in Tokyo, almost certainly ruling out any chance of the bout taking place at the Tokyo Dome. Though the US and the Middle East have also been suggested as possibilities as Japan.
Interestingly Inoue also spoke about the fans in regards to the Rodriguez bout. Whilst there was a large contingent of Japanese fans there to cheer him on, their was also loud boos for Rodriguez from the local fans, likely in part due to the actions of Rodriguez's trainer. The hostility of the fans towards Rodriguez left Inoue feeling like they were an ally, giving him a feeling of being at home.
Whilst Inoue has stated that he will eventually move to Featherweight he went on to confirm that that move isn't something he's going to rush and he currently plans a long reign at Bantamweight, a division he is making with no issue at the moment.
This past weekend Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] scored his latest win, stopping Puerto Rican fighter Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12) in 2 rounds, to add the IBF Bantamweight title to his growing collection of belts. Following that he has seen his profile rise massively and various interviews being done.
Among the multitude of stories about Inoue to have come out since his win is that he is targeting an eventual move up to Featherweight, in an attempt to become a 5 weight champion before his career is over.
This has been reported on Nikkan Sports, who have quoted Inoue as suggesting he is looking to ultimately become a 5-weight champion before retiring, with Featherweight being the highest he is expected to go. If he managed that then he would match the likes of Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr, with only Manny Pacquiao winning titles over more divisions.
The idea of the Featherweight division has long been seen as the most likely division where Inoue finishes his career, with his father and trainer Shingo mentioning it a few years ago and his body not really being suited to going any higher, given his reach, height and body type.
Nikkan sports also reported that Inoue is open to facing the controversial Luis Nery (29-0, 23), despite Nery being given an indefinite ban from fighting in Japan.
Although he's scored a huge win on Saturday Inoue is expected to get back to training in the very near future, with his father suggesting they start running when Inoue returns to Japan, tomorrow!
This past Saturday Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] claimed the IBF Bantamweight title abnd booked his place in the WBSS final with a second round TKO win over Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12).
The bout was shown in Japan via 2 different methods. Firstly the bout was shown live on WOWOW at around 5am, not a great time for a TV audience and given that WOWOW is a subscription service the potential audience is limited. The figures for this airing haven't been revealed, though we can't ever recall WOWOW figures being reported in the Japanese press anyway.
The bout was then shown on tape delay during prime time on Sunday night on Fuji TV, Inoue's usual broadcaster. Fuji, for those unaware, is a terrestrial channel, free to air in the Kanto region, with affiliate across the country, such as Kansai TV. The figures have been reported for this broadcast are truly astonishing, especially for a tape broadcast that was available online and had had the result spoiled.
In Kanto, where over 43,000,000 million people live, the audience share is a 10.3%. By raw numbers that's big, and was an increase of 4.8% from the average of the last 4 weeks in the same time slot. That's almost doubling the average that Fuji are getting for that particular slot.
Things were even more impressive in Kansai, the second largest region where around 23,000,000 people live. Here the broadcast drew 13.5% of the audience a figure up 8.4% on the average of the last 4 weeks, almost tripling the previous few weeks numbers.
The figures for the rest of the country haven't been reported yet, but there's a very, very good chance that this bout broke an audience of 10,000,000 viewers, a staggering number for a tape delay broadcast where fans who were in a rush to watch could have found the bout in full online.
According to sources these were the average numbers as well, not the peak viewership leaving real questions as to just how many people tuned in at some point during the broadcast.
With rumours being that his WBSS final against Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) could be staged at the Kyocera Dome Osaka, a stadium that can hold well over 40,000 for events, it's clear the Monster is a star with a growing fan base in Japan, as well as globally, and if his popularity continues to grow as it has done, there may be no option but to let him headline a Tokyo Dome show in the future.
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