From July 5th to July 8th WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] took part in a mini training camp in Yamanashi Prefecture where he he revealed he had been for 3 days.
The fighter, who admitted that he was now resting following suffering a minor injury, still seems to have his eye on landing the much anticipated clash with WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20), with talk of that bout still being on the cards for later this year.
Although not being as loud and as abrasive as the "Monster Hunter" Inoue does seem to be fantastic shape at the moment, even with the niggling injury. His eye, which had been a question for the originally planned April date, has seemingly had the time it's needed to recover to a much better state than it looked earlier in the year.
Sadly the bout between Inoue and Casimero, which was planned for April, does appear to be up in the air as to "when and where", but given that both men have mentioned the bout in recent weeks it does seem to be a focus for both men. Saying that however it would be no surprise, at this moment in time, for both men take an interim bout before their clash, which could end up being a winter super fight rather than a fall bout, due to the on going situation with the world and global travel.
One of the big bouts we were hoping to watch before the world became...what it now is, was a Bantamweight showdown between WBA and IBF champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20). It now appears that Casimero may be looking elsewhere for an opponent, despite a recent suggestion that Japan could a bout between the two men in front of fans.
According to Rappler and social media Casimero is looking at several options, though one has stood out.
Instead of the huge all-Asian world title unification it now appears that Casimer0 may end up facing 33 year old American challenger Rau'shee Warren (17-3-0-1, 4).
At the moment the bout is being linked to an event at the MGM Grand though it seems to be one of many possibilities that Casimero and his team are considering.
Given he global situation it's not an awful bout, by any stretch, though it does feel like a huge downgrade from what we were expecting. Warren, although a very good boxer, has lost 3 of his last 7, including a loss in 2019 to Nordine Oubaali, and his last win of note, over McJoe Arroyo, came around 3 years ago.
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.
Earlier today on former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] held a virtual press conference to announce the next stage of his career, announcing which gym he would be signing to following him leaving the Shirai Gushiken Gym earlier this year.
At the press conference Higa announce that he would be joining the newly named Ambition Gym, which is being lead by WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔].
Higa had been linked to the gym around 2 weeks ago, before the gym had changed it's name from the Ozaki Boxing Gym, with the move essentially being an open secret in Japanese boxing circles.
Not only did Higa confirm the move to the Ambition gym but he also confirmed that he would continue working with trainer Joji Nogi, who Higa has been trained by in the past. Nogi actually joined Higa on the call, and explained that Higa told him he wanted to continue, and it seems the relationship between the two is part of why Higa is continuing his career in the ring.
At the press conference Higa also stated that he wanted to be a world champion again, and that he wanted Nogi to be beside him when that happens. It was also made clear that he will be campaigning at Bantamweight going forward. That's the same division as Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], though sadly it doesn't seem likely we'll see that bout as it appears Higa will become a TBS fighter whilst Inoue will remain a Fuji TV fighter.
Although it's currently unclear when Higa will be back in the ring, though rumours have swirled that a September date is likely, he admitted that he would ideally like to fight twice more before the end of the year. We would expect the first to be another tune up before a bigger bout, potentially in December, as he begins his climb to a second world title.
It's fair to say that 2020 has not been the year any of us expected, or for that matter wanted. As fight fans we've seen a number of events postponed or cancelled, and we are still seeing a rather fluid situation in regards to scheduled events, with Top Rank having all sorts of issues with their special summer series of bouts.
Despite that boxing is starting to return and we are seeing bouts being scheduled, and organised, whilst others are in negotiations.
Earlier today we saw one man admit that he would still like to fit in 2 fights this year, despite the fact much of the year is gone.
That was unified Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], who took to social media to explain he wants fight twice in what remains of the year
Translating his tweet we get:
"Boxing shows are starting to take off one after another, so I wonder if it will be officially decided.
I want to play two games this year..."
Originally Inoue had been scheduled to defend his WBA and IBF titles in April against WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20). At the moment that bout is in flux, though could, potentially, take place September in the US.
If it does then we would expect Inoue back in Japan for a year ending card in December. Alternatively there is a chance that we could see things shifting, depending on the ability to get fans in arenas in both Japan and the US. It's hard to imagine Inoue Vs Casimero taking place in front of no fans, which could force those plans to change, potentially leading the bout being in Japan or being delayed to later in the year, or even pushing it, disappointingly, to 2021.
Given the issues Inoue had with his eye, following his hard fought WBSS final with Nonito Donaire the elongated rest period may, potentially, be a blessing in disguise for the "Monster", giving it additional time to heal. Saying that however he, like other top fighters, will obviously be desperate to get back in the ring as soon as they can.
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