Back in December Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19) [井上 尚弥] scored his latest defense of the WBA "super" and IBF Bantamweight titles, as he stopped Thai challenger Aran Dipaen (12-2, 11) [แก่นนคร ศักดิ์กรีรินทร์]. Today Inoue's promoter, Hideyuki Ohashi, spoke about his star man and the outlook for 2022.
One of the subjects at hand for Ohashi was the success of the Inoue Vs Dipaen bout on PPV. The bout, one of the very few notable bouts to be aired on PPV in Japan and Ohashi didn't give away the but did talk about the success of the event. Stating "I can't tell you the number of viewers," but "It exceeded my goal. It's a passing score."
Inoue was planning to be in the ring in April, though Ohashi did admit that plan may be forced to change, as the Cornonavirus situation in Japan is hard to predict. He stated that Inoue is in training, but the date of his return may need to be pushed back.
Interestingly Ohashi admitted they haven't contacted an opponent for Inoue's next bout, but he is hoping to land either Nonito Donaire or John Riel Casimero.
The most interesting quote from Ohashi however was the plan for the end of the year, explaining "I think we will move to the super bantamweight class by the end of the year,". It's unclear who Inoue and his would be targetting for his end of year bout, but it's interesting that Ohashi seems to be planning that move already and it's fair to say he will be looking to secure a solid opponent for Inoue's first bout at 122lbs, even if he can't land a reigning champion.
Earlier today Hideyuki Ohashi helped a press conference and announced his next big show, which we now know will be a world title double header and December 14th at the Ryogoku Kokugikan. He confirmed one bout which had been widely reported over the last couple and gave us a bonus, with a second world title bout being confirmed.
The bout we knew about was the clash between WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18) [井上 尚弥] and Thai fighter Aran Dipaen (12-2, 11) [แก่นนคร ศักดิ์กรีรินทร์], which was first reported by Komthai 2 weeks ago. The bout is certainly not a special bout, and should be a contest that Inoue wins without any real problems, but it's nice to see him being active, being back in the ring for a second fight this year and ticking over. It's also good to see him back in a Japanese ring for the first time since November 2019, when he beat Nonito Donaire in the WBSS Bantamweight final.
At the press conference Ohashi stated that he had hoped to get Inoue a unification bout with either John Riel Casimero or Nonito Donaire for this December bout, but was thwarted by their mandatory obligations. He also suggested that that they had tried to secure bouts with Rau'shee Warren, Gary Antonio Russell and Nikolai Potapov, but those had failed to materialise, and had essentially taken Dipaen as the best ranked contender who was available and willing to face Inoue. Whilst this will be Inoue's first bout in Japan for more than two years, it will also see him returning to the Ryogoku Kokugikan for the first time in around 8 years, with the venue being the one where he claimed the OPBF Light Flyweight title in 2013 with a win over Jerson Mancio.
It should be noted that Inoue and Ohashi have both previously suggested he will be getting a "big bout" in April 2022 in Japan.
The other world title bout will be a WBO Minimumweight title bout between defending champion Wilfredo Mendez (16-1, 6) and his mandatory challenger Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆]. The two men were meant to have purse bids on October 27th, but they were cancelled at the 11th hour as the teams had agreed a deal, a deal that will see them being on this card.
For Mendez the bout will be his third defense, and his first bout of any kind since beating Gabruel Mendoza back in February 2020. As for Taniguchi he's been in form and will be hoping to make the most of his second world title shot. Of the two men Mendez is probably the better pure boxer, and is quick, slippery fighter, but fighting in Japan for the first time, with the crowd against him and a long lay off, he will really be up against it here.
Also set for this card Yoshiki Takei (2-0, 2) [武居由樹], Keisuke Matsumoto (3-0, 3) [松本圭佑] and Toshiya Ishii (4-1, 3) [石井渡士也].
This past weekend we saw unified Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18) [井上 尚弥] retain his WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight titles as he stopped IBF mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20) in 3 rounds, thanks in part to some brutal body shots. Today he and his team, including his father Shingo, brother Takuma and promoter Hideyuki Ohashi, arrived back in Japan.
When they arrived back in Japan Ohashi revealed that their was an announcement on on the plane, explaining that Inoue himself was aboard, with the announcement praising him for his performance at the weekend.
Inoue himself gave comments to the media, explaining "I was able to return to Japan safely after the second bout in Las Vegas. The support of the fans who watched the game on TV from Japan helped me to win with the content I was satisfied with. I was able to do it. Thank you very much.
I couldn't sleep much on the return flight, but I was able to spend a comfortable time. In the future, I plan to rest my body during the two-week quarantine period and move my body after the period.
The immediate goal is to unify the four bantamweight groups. In the future, I would like to set the standard for Donaire and Casimero and devote myself so that anyone can show Naoya Inoue's boxing"
The men will now all have to go through a 2 week isolation period, as is expected of those entering Japan at the moment. It seems the "Monster" plans to take those 2 weeks to rest his body, which may not be a bad idea, before resuming training after the isolation period.
(Image credit - Ohashi Gym)
Around a week ago Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥] arrived in the US ahead of his upcoming defense of the IBF and WBA "super" Bantamweight world titles against Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20). At the time he was accompanied by father and trainer Shingo Inoue, his brother Takuma Inoue [井上拓真] and his cousin Koki Inoue [浩樹井上].
Yesterday he was joined by the rest of his team, including promoter Hideyuki Ohashi, who will be in attendance for the fight cheering on his charge.
The promoter has joined the Inoue clan for the fight and the group have now moved into the bubble at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)
Yesterday Hideyuki Ohashi, the head of the Ohashi Gym, announced that his unbeaten charge Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [å¹³å²¡ã¢ã³ãã£] would be getting a shot at newly crowned Japanese 140lb champion Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) [é´æ¨ é å¼], who defeated Daishi Nagata (15-3-2, 6) [æ°¸ç°å¤§å£«] yesterday to win the title.
In the instagram post, above, Mr Ohashi states:
"Andy Hiraoka, 8th in the IBF World Super Light Weight, who was scheduled for the match on September 9, will be nominated by Masahiro Suzuki (Kadoebi), who became the new champion yesterday, within 4 months according to the JBC rules. Please note that the match schedule may change."
Given this post it seems likely that Hiraoka's scheduled September bout will be cancelled, with him instead focusing on facing Suzuki at the earliest opportunity, and within the next 4 months. With that in mind it seems likely that we'll see the men collide in October, though no date has yet been set for the bout
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!