It's fair to say that 2018 has not been a great year for Japan's Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7) [井上 岳志], who earned the IBF #2 Light Middleweight ranking with a decision win against countryman Yuki Nonaka [野中 悠樹] in April but hasn't fought since. A stark difference to his activity in 2017 when he fought 4 times.
Sadly that lack of activity appears to have been caused by issues arranging an IBF final eliminator with American fighter Julian Williams (25-1-1-1, 15), a bout what was seemingly scheduled to take place on August 4th, in "October" and on November 10th.
Whatever the reason for a deal not being made with Williams it's certainly slowed Inoue's career and essentially put him on the back burner.
Since the start of 2018 we have seen several fighters in the Light Middleweight division really make a name for themselves. None have managed to do that more than Mexican sensation Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26), who has risen from obscurity to being one of the most must watch fighters on the planet in the space of a year. His year has seen him score 5 wins this year, 4 by stoppage, claim the WBO Light Middleweight title and record 2 defenses of the belt.
Munguia is looking to fight again this year, in December, and the man who has been strongly linked to is Inoue.
Various sources, including the always reliable Salvador Rodríguez of ESPN, are now reporting that the bout is likely and will probably take place on December 8th or December 15th. It would be a huge ask for Inoue, but would give him great exposure after what has surely been a frustrating year for the Japanese fighter. Munguia would clearly be favoured over Inoue but the Japanese fighter really would have nothing to lose by taking on the rising Mexican star.
(Image courtesy of World Sport Boxing)
Over the weekend the World Sport Boxing Gym announced some really interesting things as they held a press conference in their new gym building, which really is a state of the art building which is just a short walk from the Takenotsuka train Station.
The new building, which is which is 7 stories and feature's 2 rings, a Jacuzzi, a sauna, domitories and several floors to work out, looks to have been set up as a statement of intent by the gym, who also updated their website.
The press conference wasn't just to announce the new gym building, but also to announce the future for several of their fighters.
Among those fighters was Light Middleweight hopeful Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7) [井上 岳志], who is said to be preparing for an IBF world title eliminator with Julian Williams (25-1-1-1, 15) There is no set date for the bout but it does seem like an agreement has been made for Inoue to travel to face Williams and take a huge step towards getting a world title fight.
Another fighter who's future was mentioned was Kazuto Takesako (9-0, 9) [竹迫司登], who is now planning his first defense for November. There was no name mentioned for Takesako, but there are some interesting domestic options, including a unification bout with WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF champion Yasuyuki Akiyama (12-7-1, 9) [秋山泰幸].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw an IBF Light Middleweight title eliminator for the #2 world ranking as two Japanese fighters traded blows in a bloody, enthralling and excellent contest.
The bout saw the unbeaten Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7) [井上 岳志] maintain his great run of form as he over-came veteran Yuki Nonaka (31-10-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] in an excellent 12 round contest.
The bout began with Inoue being kept at some range in the opening round, with Nonaka showing his experience and relaxed nature in the ring. Despite the solid start from Nonaka it wasn't long until Inoue amped up the pressure, cut the distance and begane to work up close. Nonaka fought back hard, having success with counter shots, but was unable to keep up the pace with Inoue who took the lead after 3 rounds with his aggression.
Nonaka fought back well in the middle rounds, as he began to take control of the distance again, but it wasn't to last long with his older legs slowing in the second half of the fight as his eyes both began to bleed from the shots to his head. Nonaka managed to cut Inoue, following an accidental head clash in round 9, and both men were freely flowing claret.
Nonaka gritted his teeth and attempted to battle his way back intp the bout late, having an excellent round 10 and 11, but in the end Inoue's youthfulness saw him claim the final round to nattowly over-come the 40 year old Nonak with scores of 116-113, 116-112 and 115-113.
With this win Inoue becomes the IBF #2 ranked fighter at 154lbs and will no be looking for a final eliminator, before getting a world title fight in the next 12-18 months. For Nonaka this loss is likely to be the end of his career.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will see an IBF Light Middleweight eliminator for the #2 world ranking. The bout in question will see the unbeaten Takeshi Inoue (12-0-1, 7) [井上 岳志] battle against veteran Yuki Nonaka (31-9-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] in a really attractive and interesting match up.
Today the two men made weight, and both men came in bang on the 154lb limit, with both seeming confident and really eager for the bout.
Inoue, the younger man by 12 years, spoke about regularly fighting men taller than himself in the amateur and doesn't seem like he's got any concerns about the the fact he is 4" shorter than Nonaka. After his stellar 2017, in which he unified the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles, he is clearly riding some momentum and is seemingly already looking forward to a final eliminator.
The 40 year old Nonaka, who will be fighting at the Korakuen Hall for the first time since since beating Kazuhiko Hidaka back in June 2009, seemed to be fully aware about how good Inoue is, but seems to feel like he has prepared well and stated he would win tomorrow's bout.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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