Naoya Inoue Returns This Friday – The WBO’s world super flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (11-0) closes the year out with a title defense against fellow countryman Kohie Kono (32-9-1).
Inoue has already gone 2-0 in 2016. We last saw him fighting this past September when he scored a KO over Karoon Jarunpianlerd (38-7-1) of Thailand. At age 23, Inoue is entering his prime, and the WBO super flyweight title is a second world title on his resume after having held the WBC’s title at light flyweight through November of 2015. The big question surrounding Inoue is will he eventually fight outside of Japan or will he remain in the tight control of his handlers and stay home his whole career?
Kono unexpectedly won the WBA world title in October of 2015 when he defeated countryman Koki Kameda by unanimous decision in Chicago on a Premier Boxing Champions event. He went on to successfully defend the belt once before losing it to Luis Concepcion in his second defense. At 36 years of age, Kono is facing nearly impossible odds against Inoue, but he was a major underdog against Kameda, who was 33-1 overall and a very controversial fighter for the way he relocated to the USA and left the Japanese boxing scene behind. This match is a chance for the veteran Kono to go out on his shield.
Naoya Inoue Returns This Friday
Inoue, the 23-year-old phenom, is currently ranked as the #1 fighter in the world at 115 pounds by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. The weight class has high potential for many explosive fights in 2017 as pound for pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua competes in this division, as do such standouts as Carlos Cuadras of Mexico and Khalid Yafai of England.
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