We had expected someone like Edwin Diaz (16-18, 5) who is ranked #12 by the WBC or someone of that ilk.
What we hadn't expected is that Inoue would be going in against a genuinely respected opponent who is ranked by all 4 of the title organisations and who scored a major win just a few months ago. It's not someone like Diaz that will be fighting Inoue, instead it will be Thailand's Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (23-2, 15).
If you recognise the name that'll be because Fahlan stopped former WBA Minimumweight champion Ryo Miyazaki on New Years Eve in a stunning upset, one of the biggest upsets of the year.
Prior to the "big win" Fahlan was already holding a world ranking, after the win however he was holding several and is currently world ranked in the top 10 by all 4 oraganisations. His best ranking is at #4 by the WBA though he also holds an IBF #5 ranking, a #6 ranking with the WBC and a #8 ranking with the WBO. To say he's highly ranked is to merely state the obvious.
This is a huge test for the younger of the two Inoue brothers and although he has suggested that he wants a national title fight if he wins there may be serious thought put towards letting him fight for the a WBA title. A win over the #4 ranked fighter should guarantee him a very credible ranking and with both the WBA Minimumweight and WBA Light Flyweight titles currently sitting vacant the thought of skipping the national title to set a new national record must cross the teams mind.
The bout, scheduled for 8 rounds, will take place on April 6th at the Ota-City Central Gymnasium. The card also include Naoya Inoue fighting for a world title, Akira Yaegashi defending his world title, the return to action of Ryo Matsumoto, a Japanese title fight and Roman Gonzalez. It really is one of those cards that every boxing fan should be taking note of and calling for similar shows to take place around the world.
(Photo courtesy of http://boxingnews.jp shows Inoue, left, and Akira Yaegashi, right after a public sparring session)