Over the last few weeks there has been a spate of rumours regarding the next fight of Japanese wonder kid Naoya Inoue (7-0, 6). The most talked about one will see the "Monster" vacate his WBC Light Flyweight title and move straight in to the Super Flyweight division to battle Argentinian veteran Omar Andres Narvaez (43-1-2, 23) for the WBO Super Flyweight title on December 31st in Osaka. The rumour, which has grown dramatically over the last few days, has since seen a follow up match added to it with the winner to face Britain's Paul Butler (17-0, 8) in a mandatory defense early next year.
The rumour, which appears to have originated in the Spanish press, is an exciting one if it occurs though it is one that the Japanese fans have cast serious doubts on for several reasons.
The biggest question seems to be "why would Inoue fight in Osaka?" The the Kanagawa man would, if he fights on New Year Eve, likely be fighting in either his home area of Kanagawa or in Tokyo with Osaka being a choice out of left field. The only logical reason he would be fighting in Osaka would be if he was being featured on the Ioka promoted card on New Years Eve shown by TBS. Of course Inoue has an exclusive TV contract with Fuji TV who are very unlikely to let him feature on a TBS show and likewise promoter Hideyuki Ohashi is unlikely to let his star fight on an Ioka show unless there is something big in it for him.
That also brings us to the other big questions, "Who will be televising it from Osaka? Will Ohashi really let Inoue fight on an Ioka card? Who is Kazuto Ioka fighting?"
We aren't saying the fight isn't deep in negotiations or even signed but we do think there is something missing from the rumours that we are being told.
As for Paul Butler's involvement, he has apparently declined an IBF title fight with Zolani Tete (19-3, 16) in favour of a shot at the Narvaez/Inoue winner. That again seems a weird choice considering that Butler would likely have to travel for either of those fights whilst Tete would be easier to get to the UK. Interestingly if Butler fancies the WBO title then Inoue Vs Tete would seemingly be a plausible second option for the Japanese fighter who could easily get Tete to Tokyo or Kanagawa and sell the bout with a revenge angle for the Japanese fans who saw Tete defeat Teiru Kinoshita earlier this year for the belt.
We're awaiting official word from the Ohashi camp though it does seem clear that something big is going on behind the scene and the Ohashi clan, including Inoue, Akira Yaegashi, Satoshi Hosono and Ryo Matsumoto were all ringside at the Korakuen Hall this past Thursday to see Ryuji Hara's bout with Kosei Tanaka. We suspect that if Inoue is in action on New Years Eve then at least 2 of his high profile stablemates will also be on the show.
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