Who Would Naoya Inoue Like To Face In His Top Rank Debut?
Out of action since November, Naoya Inoue would like nothing more than to get in a boxing ring. As far as an opponent he’d like to compete against, the WBA, IBF and The Ring Bantamweight Champion has his eyes on the current WBO Junior-Featherweight Champion.
Speaking with Boxing Scene, Inoue (19-0) talked about facing off against Emanuel Navarrete sometime down the line. He believes time is running out, however, and that Navarrete won’t want to spend time in the junior-featherweight division much longer.
“There is no doubt that it will be an interesting fight,” Inoue stated. “I’m interested. But I don’t feel destined to fight Navarrete, because he won’t be a super bantamweight for much longer.”
Inoue made his professional debut in 2012. In his fourth fight, he won the Japanese Light-Flyweight Title, eventually winning the WBC Light-Flyweight Title in 2014. He would then fight at bantamweight, winning the WBO Junior-Bantamweight and WBA Bantamweight Titles. “The Monster” became IBF and WBA Bantamweight Champion by winning the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight Tournament finals.
Immediately after, Inoue signed with Top Rank and was set to face WBO Bantamweight Champion John Riel Casimero on April 25 in a unification bout. Due to the coronavirus, the WBO postponed all sanctioned fights through June.
Navarrete (32-1) fought this past weekend for the first time since February. The WBO Junior-Featherweight Champion defended his title five times before facing Uriel Lopez in a non-title affair. He won the bout via sixth-round TKO. “Cowboy” expressed a desire to move divisions, and has had Inoue on his radar.
Top Rank has been producing events in Las Vegas since the start of June thanks to the Nevada Athletic Commission. It is unknown when Inoue will make his debut for the promotion.