By: Nick Skok
Mr. Ohashi, the president of the Ohashi Gym and promoter of Naoya Inoue, recently informed me that he had been contacted by the World Boxing Super Series. Their interest was to specifically include Inoue in a bantamweight tournament later this year.
Kalle Sauerland, the promoter behind the Super Series, had been quoted about wanting to include a lower weight class in his next round of tournaments. “We’ll announce a lighter weight first; bantam, feather, lightweight, super fly, we’re looking at those weights.”
There had been murmurs about which lower weight division would be chosen for the next super series for some time. With Inoue ascending to bantamweight this year, suddenly matchups at 118 look a lot more appealing. After his last fight, Inoue mentioned WBO champion Tete as someone he might like to face but included the division as a whole when addressing his move to bantam. “The opponents [at 118] are interesting.”
After failed attempts at making unification fights at the super fly division, entering the WBSS could finally get Inoue and his promoter what they want in top tier opponents who also hold the title of champion. So is Ohashi going to commit to the WBSS? “We aren’t looking beyond McDonnell” he told me. “Afterwards we can look at the options.” Inoue is scheduled to fight in Tokyo on May 25th for the WBA “regular” championship against Jamie McDonnell of England. McDonnell is promoted by Eddie Hearn who also promotes Ryan Burnett, the WBA “super” champion.
Today an interview on “IFL” with Eddie Hearn told us that Ryan Burnett would likely join the tournament and they expect Tete to as well. Meanwhile, Tete has been vocal about both Inoue and Burnett so interest is mutual all around. When I asked Ohashi about the possibility of fighting Burnett after McDonnell he expressed interest at the possibility of Inoue fighting in England and said “We’d like to continue our relationship with Eddie Hearn.”
So the stage is set. The promoter’s of Naoya Inoue and Ryan Burnett, two of the biggest names in the division, confirm they’ve been in touch with the WBSS, while they’re also currently working together on another fight for May. Should this come along like its now expecting to, boxing fans could begin to cautiously rejoice at a bantamweight tournament that would see positive style matchups with the prestige of unifications and name brand appeal, including one top ten pound-for-pound fighter by the name of Naoya Inoue.
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