Earlier today the OPBF published their newest rankings and although their were numerous changes the one that stood out to us came at Flyweight where Japanese youngster Takuma Inoue (3-0, 1) has received a #1 ranking putting him in the prime position for a shot at the title next year.
Although Takuma has a major bout on December 30th against Argentinian visitor Nestor Daniel Narvaes (20-2-2, 9) it's fair to say he'll be looking towards next year with the potential to break from his brother's, Naoya Inoue (7-0, 6), shadow and the OPBF title would be the obvious next step to do just that.
From what we understand current OPBF Flyweight champion Koki Eto (16-3-1, 12) announced that he would be vacating the belt following his recent defense against Cris Paulino (14-2, 4) to focus on a world title bout. That would mean that the 18 year old Inoue would be able to fight for the vacant title against another top contender, such as #2 ranked Tesuma Hayashi (25-2-2, 9) or #3 ranked Ardin Diale (25-9-3, 12). On paper both of those bouts would be very tough for the youngster though it seems clear that, like his brother and others at the Ohashi gym, he looks for challengers and tough bouts rather than hoping to pad his record.
We suspect that if Inoue gets past Narvaes without too many problems he will be pushed for an OPBF title fight in early-to-mid 2015, depending on when Eto actually relinquishes the title. If Inoue can win the belt he would tie his brother's achievement of winning the Oriental title in his 5th bout, taking just one bout longer than fellow super prospect Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2) who claimed the OPBF Minimumweight title in his 4th professional contest. Incidentally Tanaka beat another Ohashi gym fight in Ryuji Hara (18-1, 10).
(Image courtesy of http://www.ohashi-gym.com)
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