It's fair to say that Inoue is the man that the boxing world are most interest interested in, and a man who has seen numerous top name opponents become unavailable, for reasons for, the end of year slot. As a result his opponent isn't a big name, as we'd have all hoped, but though it will be the highly experienced Yoan Boyeaux (41-4, 26). The French challenger is an 8 year professional who went 10-4 in his first 14 bouts but has since reeled off 31 straight wins, and done so as a road warrior with bouts in Croatia, Hungary, Brazil, Argentina, Slovakia and China.
On paper this is a monstrous step up for the French challenger, who has never fought at world level, but the reality is that the contest is likely to be a showcase for Inoue, who would have been desperate to be in action at the end end of the year, an continue to have such a big date in the Japanese boxing calendar.
Inoue won't be the only man defending a world title on the show, as WBC Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (11-0, 5) [拳 四朗] will be defending his title against against Panamanian fighter Gilberto Pedroza (18-3-2, 8), confirming the story that was reported a week ago. For the champion this will be his second title defense, and should help him prepare him for an agreed 2018 defense against former champion Ganigan Lopez, (28-7, 17). This bout is less than amazing, but given that the champion has gone in with Lopez and Pedro Guevara in his last two, few will begrudge him an easier bout.
A third title contest on this show will see OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (4-0, 4) [清水 聡] make his first defense. The 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner will be up against Filipino challenger the limited but tough Eduardo Mancito (15-7-2, 9). The Japanese fighter won the title earlier this year, stopping Sa Myung Noh in 5 rounds, to move to 4-0 (4) but with just 14 career rounds he does need some solid ring time. He should be able to get that against Mancito, who has lost 6 of his last 8 but has only suffered a single stoppage and has seen the final bell against world class fighters like Rey Vargas and Alberto Guevara.
One more contest that was announced was the previously leaked was leaked bout between former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8, 15) [益田 健太郎] and the unbeaten Takuma Inoue (9-0, 2) [井上 拓真]. This bout was revealed on Masuda's blog a few days ago, before the veteran deleted the post, almost as if he revealed it too early, though has now been confirmed. Potentially this could be Inoue's final bout before a long anticipated world title bout.
At the moment the rest of the card has yet to be announced, but it is expected that we will see at least one other notable name added to the show before the event takes place.
(Image courtesy of Daily.co.jp)