It's fair to say that Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] has got a lot of attention this week ahead of his WBSS semi-final bout with Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12) but he's not the only member of the family to be a boxer, with his cousin Koki Inoue (13-0, 10) [浩樹井上] and younger brother Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] both being successful as well, and both currently being in Scotland with Naoya.
We've known that Koki will be defending his Japanese national title in the summer for a while but the plan for Takuma was somewhat unclear until today, when he spoke to the press.
Takuma, the current WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion, revealed that he has been enjoying Europe, picking up Harry Potter DVD's and also explained that he was happy to fight in Europe. He stated "The environment is good, so I would like to do it if I can do it in Europe. The feeling that the unification war should be in Europe is good", regarding a WBC unification bout with Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11).
According to Japanese sources who have spoken to Takuma and his manager Hideyuki Ohashi, Oubaali is now expected to make his first defense in Morocco in Summer before facing Takuma in the fall. It seems like whilst Inoue would obviously home advantage he's more than open to travelling to Europe to face the French based Morrocan.
After weeks of speculation it's now been confirmed that Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39) will be back in the ring on July 20th to face off with unbeaten American Keith Thurman (29-0-0-1, 22), in a bout to unify the WBA "regular" and "Super" titles.
The bout, which hasn't yet had a venue announced for it, will be available on Fox Sports PPV in the US and will be Pacquiao's second bout under the PBC banner, following his January win over Adrien Broner. At the age of 40 it's hard to know when father time will truly catch up with Pacquiao, though he did still look pretty good last time out.
Thurman, who beat Josesito Lopez a week after Pacquiao's win over Broner, will be fighting for just the second time in over 2 years. The 30 year old is becoming a bit of a forgotten figure, thanks to the rise of Errol Spence, so will know he needs to look really good here after his inactivity.
At the moment there hasn't been any announcements about the under-card, though their was a rumour that WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] could have his WBC unification bout with Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11) on this show.
To prepare for his upcoming WBSS semi final bout at Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] has taken part in a training camp in Guam, that ended today.
The WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion, who will face IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12) in May in Scotland, was in Guam for a few days, and returned to Japan, landing at Narita Airport before talking to the press.
Inoue's training in Guam was no joke and he was doing a lot of intensive stamina work, running significant amounts, apparently the most he's ran before. Not only was he running, around 20KM a day, but he did so with a low oxygen mask and ran with a 1KG dumbbell at times, to further intensify the work. Some of that running was done on the soft sand of Guam's beaches, to make the running even more difficult, and to try and prevent injury, with the fighter revealing that he was doing 8.5KM on the beaches in every day and 12KM on grass.
Back in Japan the plan is to begin serious sparring from early March before ramping up the training in a second training camp at some point in April in Japan, likely in Atami where the Inoue clan have trained before.
It should be noted that whilst there was a lot of running, the camp did have some fun, and Inoue, his father Shingo and his brother Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] did go on a bit of a shopping spree at a designer outlet before returning to Japan.
Earlier today we reported that Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] had won a couple of awards at the Japanese Boxing Award, taking the MVP and KO awards. It was however a bit of a family affair for the Inoue's with Naoya being just 1 of the 3 award winning men in his family.
Younger brother Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] was one of the many fighters awarded the outstanding fighter award, given to fighters who held a world title during the year also including Naoya, whilst their father, Shingo Inoue [井上真吾] took the Trainer of the year award.
The Inoue's dominance of the Award Ceremony was hard to ignore and it does seem like we're going to see a lot more of the trio in future award ceremony's possibly with Koki Inoue (12-0, 10) [浩樹井上] being involved in the awards next year as well.
At the end of 2018 we saw Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] being crowned as the WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion, following his win over Petch Sor Chitpattana (48-1, 33) [เพชร ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท]. Since then Frenchman Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11) has claimed the WBC regular title , and the two are going to be unifying the WBC crown later this year.
Today Inoue resumed full scale training for that bout, which is being planned for Spring.
Among the training that Inoue did today was sparring with stablemate Kazuki Nakajima (6-0, 5) [中嶋一輝], who like Oubaali, is a southpaw.
Not only was Inoue back in the gym today but also spoke to the press, and told reporters that he's back to normal now, and and that he is hitting the bag with full power, showing he has no worries about the state of his right hand, which had required an operation in 2016.
Takuma's father, Shingo Inoue, seems to be aware of what Oubaali is bringing, and that Inoue will need to improve overall to defeat the unbeaten Frenchman.
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
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