Earlier today we saw the announcement that WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (12-0, 10) [井上 尚弥] would be defending his title on May 21st in Tokyo, taking on Ricardo Rodriguez (16-3, 5).
It seems that that bout wans't the first choice option for Inoue, with the "Monster's" team stating they had tried to set up a unification bout with IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas and they had also looked into having a bout with WBA Bantamweight champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov.
Although a bout with Rodriguez isn't as big news as some would have hoped foe the announcement of Inoue's next bout did come with some solid plans of the Monster's next step, which will be to make his US debut in September.
At the moment it's unclear who Inoue will be fighting in September but the options seem to be a non-title fight, as he rises to Batamweight, or a final defense of the belt. After that they Ohashi team have stated they are looking to claim a Bantamweight title in December, possibly against Zhakiyanov.
Given the dates and timings it's unlikely that Inoue will face WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19) [山中慎介] in 2017, though the option to have that fight as a potential 2018 unification bout cannot be ruled out as it would be a genuine super fight next year. Though issues with TV contracts would need to be sorted for the bout to be held.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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