Inoue and Donaire make weight!
Tomorrow at the Super Arena in Saitama we'll see the much anticipated rematch between Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19) [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27), with the two legends fighting to unify the WBA "super", IBF, Ring Magazine and WBC Bantamweight titles. Today ahead of their bout the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and unsurprisingly there were no issues at all on the scales.
At the weigh in Inoue came in at 118lbs bang on the divisional limit, and looked in incredible shape, though also like a man who's time at Bantamweight is somewhat numbered and it seems clear that he will be moving to Super Bantamweight sooner rather than later. As for Donaire, he came with room to spare, at around 117.8lbs, and like Inoue he looked in great shape, and a long way removed from the fighter who had looked fleshy at Featherweight.
The real drama came after the weigh in with the glove selection ceremony causing some sparks between the teams of the two fighters. The drama started when Inoue's team tried to get Donaire to switch from his first choice gloves to his second choice and when Donaire's team noted that Inoue's gloves weren't sealed, as had been agreed. Despite the drama things seemed to be sorted quite quickly as part of the rules meeting, with Donaire allowed to wear orange Everlast and Inoue wearing black Reyes, interestingly marking the first time he'll have fought in the Mexican made puncher's gloves.
Notably the rule meeting also saw decisions being made regarding open scoring and instant replay. The bout will have open scoring after the 4th and 8th round, which is a normal thing for WBC world title fights in Japan, and will also have instant replay used if required, due to a request apparently made by the WBC.
For fans wanting to bet on the bout Inoue is 2/9 favourite with Donaire priced at 49/10. Interestingly Inoue is 8/15 to win by stoppage and 10/3 to win by decision, whilst Donaire is 8/1 to win by stoppage and 11/1 to win a decision.
Related - The Drama In Saitama II - Inoue Vs Donaire "The Rematch"
Later today we'll see IBF Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (26-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] defending his title against unbeaten Welshman Joe Cordina (14-0, 8), in what will be Ogawa's first defense and Cordina's first shot at a world title.
Yesterday the two men made weight for the bout, however with the bout being an IBF title bout there was another weigh in today, following along with the IBF's same day weigh in rules, that mandate a fighter weighs in less than 10lbs above the divisional limit. Thankfully both men came in comfortably under the 140lb same day limit.
At the weigh in today Ogawa was 138.5lbs, a full 1.5lbs under the maximum allowed, whilst Cordina was 139.8lbs, just marginally under the maximum allowed.
Notably Ogawa has revealed he is in great condition and managed to have a good night's sleep before this morning's weigh in, and explained that there will be no excuse about his condition later today, as the condition he's in is "excellent".
For fans wanting to watch this will be aired around the world on DAZN.
Related - Ogawa takes on Cordina in first defense!
After months of waiting, postponements and more waiting we are finally on the verge of the Middleweight super fight between IBF Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (41-1-1, 36) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] and WBA "Super" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太], who will clash tomorrow at the Saitama Super Arena, in a major unification bout.
At the weigh in, both men came in bang on the 160lb limit and both looked in great shape, with a sense of both seriousness and respect across their faces.
On the scales Golovkin looked in great shape, despite the fact he's now 40 years old. He looked ripped and like a man in his prime physical condition for a fight he's taking incredibly seriously, even if the bookies and others see it as a foregone conclusion.
As for Murata he looked somewhat less cut than Golovkin, and even a touch fleshy. Compared to his rival he didn't look in peak physical condition, though he certainly didn't look bad as such and he has never been the uber-ripped looking type of fighter.
After the two men made weight they took part in a 20 second stare down, with Murata keeping an incredibly serious look, until smiling afterwards, as the respect between the two men showed.
Related - The Middleweight Division get a super fight as Golovkin and Murata face off!
Yesterday the IBF officially ordered their Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович] to begin negotiating with mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales (35-3, 18), himself a former WBO Bantamweight champion.
The bout, which will also likely see Akhmadaliev risking his WBA "super" title, came about after Tapales scored a 2nd round win over Japan's Hiroaki Teshigawara [勅使河原 弘晶] in December. That bout saw Tapales become the IBF mandatory and get a shot at becoming a 2-weight world champion.
Jake Donovan, reporting for BoxingScene, has reported that the teams have until February 2nd to negotiate a deal if they are intending to avoid purse bids. If it does go to purse bids things could get very interesting as Akhmadaliev is a Matchroom fighter and Tapales has been fighting on PBC shows in recent years.
The talented Akhmadaliev, arguably the best fighter at 122lbs, has defended his unified title twice. He made his first defense against former champion Ryosuke Iwasa [岩佐 亮佑], in what was a mandatory that Iwasa earned after beating Tapales, whilst he also beat Jose Velasquez last year, with Velasquez filling in at short notice for Ronny Rios. He will be looking at Tapales as a stepping stone to a major unification bout later in the year, and will also have to contend with a WBA mandatory later in the year.
As for Tapales he is looking at having another signature win, following his incredible 2016 win over Pungluang Sor Singyu. At times in recent years he has looked like he has aged, particularly in his loss to Iwasa, but when his back is against the wall he has shown what he can do, stopping not just Pungluang but also Shohei Omori, twice, and Teshigawara. He would be the under-dog against the unbeaten Uzbekistani champion, but should be considered a live under-dog, especially with his reputation for ripping up scripts.
Earlier today saw the announcement of an Atomweight world title double header set for February 25th at Korakuen Hall, as the main bouts for Victoriva Vol 8.
One of the title bouts will see 38 year old veteran Ayaka Miyao (24-9-2, 6) [宮尾綾香] battle against professional novice Eri Matsuda (4-0-1, 1) [松田恵里], in a bout for the vacant IBF Atomweight title.
For Miyao the bout will see her looking to become a 2-time world champion. The veteran is a former WBA champion, who has, sadly, come up short a number of times in recent years, including a 2015 loss in a unification bout with Momo Koseki, a WBO title fight in 2016 with Nao Ikeyama, a WBA title fight with Montserrat Alarcon in 2019, and a loss and a draw to Etsuko Tada in WBO title bouts in 2020. Despite those set backs she has shown she belongs at the world level, and with her experience, skill and style she is still very much a handful for anyone in the division.
As for Matsuda, this will be her second world title bout, following a draw with the then IBF champion Saemi Hanagata back in March, in what was Hanagata's final bout before she retired. That was a great bout, and showed that Matsuda belonged at this level, even if she was denied by the judges, who had the bout a majority draw.
The other title bout will see WBO champion Mika Iwakawa (10-5-1, 3) [岩川 美花] take on Nanae Suzuki (10-4-1, 1) [鈴木菜々江], in a bout that was supposed to take place in October 15th but was cancelled when Iwakawa suffered an injury whilst training.
These two have fought before, with Iwakawa narrowly defending her title in 2020, when she took a split decision over Suzuki, and she will be seeking her second defense here, whilst Suzuki will be looking to win a world title in her second shot at a major belt.
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