Naoya Inoue Set For Homecoming Bout Vs. Aran Dipaen on December 14

Naoya Inoue is all geared up for his long-awaited home return this December.

Inoue, the reigning WBA and IBF Bantamweight Champion, said he’s delighted to fight again in front of the home crowd and will feature in the main event against Thailand’s Aran Dipaen at the famed Ryogoku Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.

The 28-year-old took to Twitter and confirmed the fight, “It’s been two years since I’ve fought in Japan. I’m really looking forward to it.”

“The Monster” Inoue last fought in his native Japan in November 2019.

The upcoming home fixture will be Inoue’s second appearance at Kokugikan, the arena which is famous for housing Sumo wrestling.

Inoue last made a walk to the ring in the same venue in December 2013 where he overpowered Jerson Mancio to win the vacant OPBF Light Fly title. This victory opened a barrage of success for the Yokohama native and just one fight later, he claimed his first world title.

The title defense against Dipaen will be Inoue’s fourth defense of at least one bantamweight title and his third as a unified champion.

The 28-year-old Japanese will go into this fight on the back of two consecutive knockout wins in Las Vegas, which includes a ruthless display against Philippines’ Michael Dasmarinas this past June at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.

This victory was preceded by the demolition of top bantamweight contender, Jason Moloney last Halloween.

Dipaen wasn’t the first choice for Inoue. His team reportedly tried to put together rather solid fights with Rau’shee Warren and Gary Antonio Russell for Inoue’s homecoming, but Japan’s strict coronavirus protocols made it hard for the organizers to plan this out.

Dipaen is coming off a sixth-round stoppage victory against countryman, Sukpraserd Ponpitak this past March in Bang Phli.

The only two losses of his career have come outside of Thailand. But the 30-year-old from Khon Kaen will be looking to add another feather to his bag as he already has fought in Japan and secured a second-round knockout of Ryohei Arakawa in June 2019.

In the co-main event of the evening, Wilfredo “Bimbito” Mendez will defend his WBO strawweight belt against Tokyo-based mandatory challenger Masataka Taniguchi. It will be Mendez’s third title defense, the first two coming against Axel Aragon Vega and Gabriel Mendoza.

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