One of the biggest boxing casualties in boxing from the current on going situation was the triple title Bantamweight unification bout between WBA and IBF champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20). The bout, originally scheduled for April 25th, was postponed indefinitely due to the on going global situation.
Whilst this did lead to some teasing from Casimero and his team about Inoue being scared of the "Monster Killer", it did slowly become quite apparent that the postponement has had to become increasingly frustrating for both camps.
What had been an April date then got pencilled in for Summer, with August and September both being mentioned as possibilities. Now, with the situation getting progressively worse in the US, it seems like those months may also be unavailable for a fight of this magnitude. The bout would not only see teams of both men coming from one side of the globe to another, but also likely need fans and gamblers to be in the US to make the event cost effective.
At the moment it's hard to imagine an event in the US having fans in attendance before October or November, at the earliest, and even those numbers could be a fraction of a capacity crowd.
With that said it's interesting to note that Hideyuki Ohashi, who runs the Ohashi gym that Inoue fights out of, has stated that he hopes the bout could take place this year and pointed out that Japan was a real possibility for the bout, adding that they could get a venue that could accommodate over 10,000.
Although it's not a given that the bout would in Inoue's homeland it seems like the "Monster's" team are looking as possibilities to hold the bout this year, and are still very keen on facing Casimero before the end of 2020 even if the bout can't be in the US, as first hoped.
The highly regarded Ohashi Gym, run by former world champion Hideyuki Ohashi, has announce that the gym will be closed from April 7th to try and help battle the on going global issues that is now effecting the planet. The gym has announced that it hopes to open on May 1st, though of course the issue is still pretty much a developing one and could remained closed beyond that date if it needs to.
The gym is a major one in Japan, and is based in one of the most heavily populated areas in the country, so it closing it's doors is a excellent decision. Even more so given no one at the gym has shown any health issues at the moment, rather than waiting for someone to get sick before choosing to lock the doors.
For fans unsure of which fighters this will affect current Ohashi gym fighters include the likes of former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) [八重樫 東], the unified Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], his brother Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真], Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上], former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (23-3, 21) [松本亮] and prospects such as Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓], 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Katsuki Mori (6-0,1) [森且貴] and Ryutaro Nakagaki [中垣 龍汰朗] and Keisuke Matsumoto [松本圭佑], who were both pencilled in to debut in late May.
Usually closing a gym with this level of talent is likely to have major knock ons for big fights, however with the current climate we don't imagine this decision will cause too many issues, and is actually a very smart move from the gym that is trying to look after it's fighters and staff.
The latest boxing causality of Coronavirus has been announced as the Bantamweight triple title unification bout between Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino puncher John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20), with Hideyuki Ohashi and Inoue both confirming the bout has been postponed, indefinitely.
The Ohashi gym stated
"Naoya Inoue has practiced thoroughly, but there is no help in this world situation. We will announce again when a new date is decided."
Whilst Inoue himself stating
"I'm sorry to all the fans who were looking forward to it. However, given the global situation, we have to make a decision to postpone it now. We will continue to prepare to defeat Casimero, because it has been postponed."
So whilst the bout, which was pencilled in for April 25th, is now postponed, it's clear that both Inoue and Ohashi will be looking to reschedule the contest, and it seems clear that bout will be their #1 priority when the situation improves.
Earlier today Ohashi Gym chairman Hideyuki Ohashi took to social media to explain that he had spoke to former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) [八重樫 東], and advised him of what to do.
In his post on Instagram Ohashi explained "I have recommended retirement to Akira Yaegashi". Before adding that he had failed to throw in the title at the right time in an Yaegashi bout, but was doing so at the right time in regards to Yaegashi's career.
Yaegashi, who turned 37 a few days ago, hasn't made any concrete plans since losing in an IBF Flyweight title bout against Moruti Mthalane in December, though it's expected that he'll follow Mr Ohashi's advice and retire from in ring activity.
Given his success in the ring, and huge popularity there's a good chance that Yaegashi will either follow in Ohashi's footsteps and set up a gym of his own, or will continue to be involved as a team member of the Ohashi gym, perhaps as a trainer. Given his wealth of experience he would serve as a great mentor to some of the gym's young hopefuls, such as Keisuke Matsumoto [松本圭佑], Ryutaro Nakagaki [中垣 龍汰朗] and Katsuki Mori (6-0,1) [森且貴].
Despite it not being a surprise it's good to see confirmation from the fighter this far out!
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