Earlier today in Tokyo the Japanese media had the chance to attend a long awaited press conference to announce the next big Ohashi Gym card. The announcement had been anticipated for several week and is likely to be one of the few Japanese announcements to have fight fans around the world paying attention to it.
The reason it was so anticipated is due to the fact it related to the return of Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8) [井上 尚弥], and his first bout of 2016. The youngster is one of the few Asian fighters who can generate a buzz in the west and is a man that is very much seen as part of the future of world boxing, with both Boxnation and HBO mentioning his name in recent months.
The announcement of who Inoue,the WBO Super Flyweight champion, was set to face was no shock, it's long been known that he would be up against WBO mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-2-5, 8). The opponent wasn't the most exhilarating or anything like that but it was a mandatory that the WBO had ordered at the start of the year.
Whilst the match up was no surprise, and was very well known about, what was news was the date of the bout and the co-feature bout.
The bout will take place just outside the "Golden Week" with the date now set for May 8th, which is the second Sunday in May. It is slightly than expected but came within the "window" that many has expected the bout to come in. With Inoue's team stating "late April or early May" on more than one occasion prior to today's announcement.
Carmona has "earned" his opportunity by fighting to a draw last year in an interim title fight against Warlito Parrenas. Parrenas, as you may remember, was very unlucky to only earn a draw against Carmona in a bout that he seemed to win pretty clearly. Although the bout resulted in a draw Parrenas got a shot at Inoue last year, being stopped in 2 rounds by Inoue in December, with the "Monster" showing the gulf in their abilities. It'd be a shock to see Carmona last much longr with Inoue who has been simply untouchable since moving to 115lbs at the end of 2014.
For Inoue the defense will be his second of the WBO Super Flyweight title and is likely to be his final bout in Japan before making an international debut in the US later this year. Although the youngster didn't confirm that story there were quotes from him staying that he wants to win by KO to help secure big matches in the future, with of course a potential showdown with Roman Gonzalez firmly on his, and everyone elses, mind.
Contrary to rumours from a UK promoter Inoue is not known to be suffering with any problems from making 115lbs and appears to have no intention of vacating his title any time soon. Bad news of course for Frank Warren and a couple of his fighters who appear unlikely to rush to face Inoue.
Of course Naoya won't be the only man in action and it was announced that stablemate Akira Yaegashi (23-5, 12) [八重樫 東] would be defending the IBF Light Flyweight title on the same show, with the hugely popular Yaegashi set to face Mexico's heavy handed Martin Tecuapetla (13-6, 10).
On paper the co-feature isn't as exciting as the main event, which features one of the sports best fighters, however looking a little further it may actually be a much more fan friendly and competitive bout.
The exciting Yaegashi is rarely in a dull contest and that's not likely to change here, in what will be his first defense of the Light Flyweight crown he won last year, when he upset Javier Mendoza. His warrior mentality is likely to bring the best out of Tecuapetla who holds wins against the likes of Saul Juarez, Gilberto Para and Ronald Ramos. Although not the most talented he is heavy handed and has mixed in very respectable company, facing the likes of Juarez, twice, former Yaegashi foe Oscar Blanquet, current world champion Jose Argumedo, and Milan Melindo, who he fought to a razor thin decision in 2014.
Like Inoue we've also seen Yaegashi suggest he would be looking for a KO though it should be noted that Tecuapetla hasn't been stopped in around 4 years, in what was his first bout to go beyond 8 rounds. Yaegashi described the Mexican as being "belligerent", and it's a world that many would also use to describe Yaegashi himself.
For fans interested in attending the card will be held at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo whilst others will be able to watch the bout on Fuji TV, who will continue to broadcast shows featuring Inoue, their rising star.
As for the under-card it's been confirmed that both Takuma Inoue (6-0, 1) [井上 拓真] and Ryo Matsumoto (17-0, 15) [松本 亮] will be in action, though their opponents haven't yet been named. Nothing really is known about Matsumoto's opponent, though we have been informed that Takuma will be defending his OPBF Super Flyweight title, in a bout that comes just weeks after an interim title fight in the Philippines. It's unlikely their bouts will air on Fuji TV, though there is some possibility that they will have highlights aired on the channel, or be shown on Fuji's subscription sister channel on tape delay.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)http://daily.co.jp
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