By: Nick Skok
“The opponents are interesting” is how WBO super flyweight boss Naoya Inoue described the current options at the 118lb bantamweight division. The comments were made after another dominant Inoue performance, this time soundly defeating Yoann Boyeaux by 3rd round TKO.
“The WBO has Tete” was the first potential opponent Inoue mentioned. Zolani Tete is the WBO bantamweight champion and is riding a ten fight win streak over the last five years. Seven of those opponents lost by either KO or TKO. A fight with Inoue, who’s now 15-0 with 13 KO’s of his own, would be a mouthwatering possibility for fans of the big punch. Should Inoue vacate his WBO crown at super flyweight, it’s highly likely he’ll be placed as the number one contender to Tete’s title, as he too represents the WBO family.
“I’m not satisfied [at super fly] so I want to fight at bantamweight next year.” Inoue has been echoing this sentiment all week and did so again at his post-fight press conference when describing both his recent opponents and current options at 115lbs.
Wanting to unify the division, Inoue and his team made offers to the division’s other champions. WBA champion Kal Yafai and his promoter turned down one such offer that would’ve landed the pair on HBO’s upcoming “Super Fly 2” card. Coincidentally, Yafai’s promoter has also shrugged off the possibility of his other fighter, unified bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett, from facing Zolani Tete next, citing similar “high risk/low reward” jargon that he used with Inoue.
IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and his team have both publicly expressed their desire to face Inoue but have also turned down repeated offers as well.
A move to bantamweight would give Naoya Inoue the opportunity to become a three division champion. His Ohashi Gym stablemate Akira Yegashi accomplished that feat two years ago, becoming only the third Japanese boxer in history to do so.
Nick Skok writes for NoSparring.com