Back in March it was announced that Japanese star Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19) [井上 尚弥] would rematch Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27), in a bout to unify the WBA "Super", IBF and WBC Bantamweight titles. At the time the only broadcaster confirmed for the event was Amazon Prime Video in Japan, with no international broadcasters being named.
Thankfully yesterday the news broke the ESPN+ would be airing the much anticipated rematch, live on their service, giving international fans a chance to watch the bout, which would otherwise have been closed off to the rest of the world.
The announcement of ESPN+ showing the bout was accompanied by a Western poster for the bout, which can be seen above, and it's one of the best posters we've seen this year, selling on the star power of the two men, as well as the nature of the rematch, especially to those who remember their 2019 classic.
At the moment no other international broadcasters have been confirmed, though the expectation is that the bout will be shown in other regions, such as the UK through Sky Sports who aired their first bout.
Earlier today Ohashi gym announced the chief support bout for the much anticipated rematch between Japanese star Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27).
That bout, which is set to unify the WBA "Super", IBF and WBC Bantamweight titles on June 7th at the Saitama Super Arena is expected to be a great fight, but the chief support could, somehow, be even more action packed as OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue (15-1, 3) [井上拓真] takes on Japanese champion Gakuya Furuhashi (28-8-2, 16) [古橋大輔] in an excellent unification bout of regional and national titles.
Of the two men Takuma is the more well known, after all he is Naoya's younger brother and a 3-weight OPBF champion who now looks to be making a name for himself at 122lbs thanks to an excellent win in November against Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾]. He's not got the power of the "Monster" but Takuam is a good technical boxer, who has genuine guts, determination and is now starting to fill out his frame, growing into his man strength at the age of 26. He will know a win here will help boost his chances of getting a second world title fighter and with world rankings from the IBF, WBC and WBO he isn't far off another crack at a world title already.
Whilst Takuma is known internationally the same can't be said of Furuhashi, and that's a shame. Furuhashi is a true warrior, a blood and guts fighter, who is one of the most fan friendly fighters on the planet. The 34 year old comes to fight, putting it all on the line every time he's in the ring, with a high pressure, high intensity style that makes him a genuine must watch fighter. He won the Japanese title last year, in his third shot, stopping Yusaku Kuga in a legitimate contender for the 2021 Japanese Fight of the Year, and has defended the title twice since then. He will be looking for his third defense, and the biggest win of his career.
Given the styles of the two men this could be under-whelming if Takuma can keep it at range and play it safe for 12 rounds, but that's a massive ask against someone like Furuhashi, who is full of energy and fire. Furuhashi will look to get inside, take the fight to Inoue and make it into a war, which should make this really exciting, with Inoue looking to respond to Furuhashi's pressure with a higher than typical output.
Fans in Japan wanting to watch this bout, will be able to see it live on Amazon Prime Video
At the end of March Ohashi gym announced that we finally had a date for the rematch between Japanese star Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27), with the two men battling to unify the WBA "Super", IBF and WBC Bantamweight titles on June 7th at the Saitama Super Arena. At the time however there was no under-card bouts announced. Today we finally saw some information on the under-card bouts for the show.
One of the bouts now confirmed for that show will see Japanese and WBO Asian Pacific Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (19-0, 14) [平岡アンディ], a man somewhat known to US audiences after appearing on some Top Rank cards in recent years, defending his Japanese title against the hard hitting Shun Akaiwa (7-3-1, 5) [赤岩俊].
The bout will serve as Hiraoka's second defense of the Japanese title, which he won last year when he stopped Jun Sasaki, though will not see him risking his WBO regional title. Notably coming in to this bout Akaiwa is only by the JBC and not the WBO's regional body, leaving him only eligible for the Japanese title.
Currently ranked by the IBF Hiraoka is slowly moving towards a world title eliminator, and whilst he's certainly not read for the top dogs in the division, the 25 year old is moving his career forward well, and the last year or so have been excellent for him, with notable wins over Rickey Edwards, in the US, along with stoppages of Jin Sasaki and Cristiano Aoqui, whilst getting rounds, experience and clearly developing his skill set.
As for Akaiwa he's getting this bout on the back of a big domestic win in March against Hokuto Matsumoto. Despite that win he will be a massive under-dog, especially given his 2020 loss to Jin Sasaki, who stopped him in just 45 seconds, but being the under-dog is normal for Akaiwa, who has upset Matsumoto and Kenta Endo in the past.
For fans in Japan wanting to watch this bout, it's expected to be shown as part of the Amazon Prime Video broadcast of the show, though as of yet no Western broadcaster(s) has been confirmed.
Earlier today there was huge press conference in Japan to announce the much anticipated rematch between Japanese star Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27), in a bout to unify the WBA "Super", IBF and WBC Bantamweight titles.
The bout will take place on June 7th at the Saitama Super Arena, the same venue that hosted the first bout between the two men, back in the WBSS Bantamweight Final in 2019, a bout dubbed the "Drama in Saitama", and will see Amazon Prime Video show casing the bout in Japan, with the broadcast set to be their second world title bout in the country, following on from the April 9th clash 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]. Interestingly it was reported back in January that Amazon Prime were interested in the bout, and it seems they are committed to showcasing the biggest names in Japanese boxing, though at the moment no international broadcasters have been announced. It could be that Amazon Prime will look to retain all rights and broadcast it internationally, which would be a huge statement of intent by the service to get involved in boxing, or we could see Sky Sports in the UK and ESPN in the US showing the fight.
At the press conference today Inoue was join in attendance by promoter Hideyuki Ohashi and his trainer, and father, Shingo Inoue.
At the event Inoue explained that he wasn't focused on the WBC title, a title currently held by Donaire, but instead on defeating Donaire. And also added that he's potentially going to move up in weight after this bout. Originally the hope was to secure a showdown with WBO champion Johnriel Casimero, though with Casimero needing to fulfil mandatory obligations, it now looks highly unlikely that that bout will ever take place, at least at Bantamweight.
Although wasn't at the event in person he was still there in spirit, delivering a video message as part of it and swore revenge for the result of their first bout, adding that he wanted to "Hunt the monster". He also spoke about how his speed and power have returned and that the first bout with Inoue was a big lesson, and that he had learned from that loss.
Interesting Inoue also revealed some details of his training came, which will begin in the second half of April. Among the more interesting details were the fact he named the two guys he's going to be sparring with to prepare for Donaire. One of those is Genesis Servania (34-3, 16) whilst the other will be Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Ryuya Tsugawa (9-1, 5) [津川 龍也].
Earlier today it was announced that former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-1, 12) [浩樹井上], who announced his retirement in July 2020, would be heading back to the ring to restart his professional boxing career.
The talented Inoue, the cousin of the Monster Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] and former world title challenger Takuma Inoue [井上拓真], retired following his 7th round TKO loss to Daishi Nagata [永田大士], a loss that saw him lose the Japanese title in a major upset.
At the moment it's not been confirmed when Koki will fight again, however he has got a #17 ranking with the JBC, and speculation is rife that his return bout will come on the same card as Naoya's much anticipated next bout, which is expected to come against WBC Bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire in late spring or early summer.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!