Last month we reported that Puerto Rican media were stating that McWilliams Arroyo (16-3, 14) had been strongly linked to a bout with Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (13-0, 11) [井上 尚弥]. Today however it was reported that Arroyo wouldn't be Inoue's dance partner for what will be Inoue's US debut, instead Inoue will be facing off with American Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9).
The bout is said to have been officially made and will take place on September 9th in California, with the bout acting as a supporting contest for the rematch between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] and Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38), with Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2, 25) to face Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1, 27) in another of the supporting bouts.
Speculation is that Inoue will be defending his WBO Super Flyweight title for the final time in a bout which will be aired by HBO, with the Japanese youngster likely to move up to Bantamweight in his next fight or two, with that decision possibly dependent on whether or not Gonzalez can avenge his loss to Srisaket.
Coming in to the bout Inoue is on a run of 3 straight stoppages, taking out Petchbarngborn Kokietgym, Kohei Kono and Ricardo Rodriguez and is expected to wow US audiences, who have followed him at range in recent times. As for Nieves, who is ranked #7 by the WBO at Bantamweight, the bout would be his first since a split decision loss to Nikolai Potapov in March.
On paper it's a lesser known opponent for Inoue than Arroyo, but possibly a better one and one that isn't coming up in weight following a long lay off. It's unlikely Nieves has the skills, speed or power to cope with the "Monster" but he has never been stopped and could prove to be a decent foe for the Japanese star to make an impact in front of an American audience.
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