At the very end of this month we'll see Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] defending his WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight titles against Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-1, 18) in Las Vegas. Today, ahead of that bout, Hideyuki Ohashi, the Chairman of the Ohashi Gym, took part in an online interview on Inoue's behalf.
Ohashi revealed that his star fighter is currently sparring 4 or 5 rounds a day and that he was improving, stating "The development of techniques such as footwork and steps to the side is remarkable,". Ohashi also stated that Inoue hasn't lost any motivation, despite the way 2020 has gone and the cancellation of his planned bout with WBO champion John Riel Casimero.
One of the big talking points from Ohashi's comments wasn't how Inoue is training, but how much he is being paid, with Ohashi stating that his man would get $1,000,000. He even stated that that was more than expected, explaining, "I thought it was unavoidable that the opponent changed and it would be 30% to 50% down in the unattended game, but it is as it is" . Ohashi revealed that Inoue is getting that same amount that he was going to get for a bout with Casimero.
Interestingly Naoya won't be the only member of the family travelling from Japan to the US. Among other members of the Inoue family travelling is former fighter, and Naoya's cousin, Koki Inoue, with the plan being to try and keep a comfortable environment in the US, just as they'd have had in Japan.
As for sparring that has proven trickier than usual, with no sparring partners being flown in, however he has been sparring with fighters from the Ohashi gym. This has included Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓], Ryo Matsumoto (24-3, 21) [松本亮] and Keisuke Matsumoto (1-0, 1) [松本圭佑]. From outside of the Ohashi Gym Inoue has sparred with former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田雅之] and is also planning to spar with Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-0, 2) [石井渡士也] next week.
The hope is to still unify all 4 world titles in 2021, with the plan being to get ast Moloney and then have the long awaited bout with Casimero in the new year, then face the winner of the WBC title bout between Nordine Oubaali and Nonito Donaire, with Ohashi stating "Next year, we will unify the four groups. We intend to do so".
One final thing to add, is it's now confirmed that Inoue will leave Japan in October 18th, with the plan being to enter the MGM Grand a few days before the bout.
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