Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Arum: I Think Inoue Will Be A Huge Star In The U.S. & Around The World

Bob Arum expected a large contingent of Japanese fans to pack Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday night to witness Naoya Inoue’s return to the United States.

Like every other scheduled bout in boxing, Inoue’s bantamweight championship unification fight against the Philippines’ Johnriel Casimero was postponed indefinitely last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Inoue-Casimero might be delayed longer than some other bouts because coronavirus-related travel restrictions could keep Inoue from leaving Japan for the United States for an extended period even after American cities reopen.

Whenever Inoue fights in the U.S. again, Arum believes that the Japanese knockout artist will become one of boxing’s biggest attractions worldwide. Inoue, who is co-promoted by Arum’s Top Rank Inc., has fought just twice outside of Japan – once in Carson, California, and once in Glasgow, Scotland – since making his pro debut in October 2012.

“I think he is gonna be a huge star,” Arum told, “both in the United States and around the world.”


The 27-year-old Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) already is a three-division champion and a mainstream star in his homeland. The IBF/WBA bantamweight champion also is commonly rated among the top five fighters, pound-for-pound, in boxing.

Inoue’s 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over five-division champ Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs) on November 7 in Saitama, Japan, was voted “Fight of the Year” for 2019 by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

“He comes to fight,” Arum said. “He’s crowd-pleasing. You’ve got some guys out there who are great fighters, but they’re not very crowd-pleasing. This kid, a 118-pounder, with the power that he has, is really unusual. And you saw in the Donaire fight, even when he can’t utilize the power because he’s in with a terrific boxer, like Donaire is, he has a way to press, to come through and to win the fight.”

ESPN was supposed to televise the 12-round bout between Inoue and Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs), the WBO champion, as the main event of a doubleheader last month.

Assuming Las Vegas re-establishes itself as a top tourist destination once this pandemic ends, Arum envisions Inoue becoming a gate attraction there.

“We’re all in unchartered waters, and we have to see how this plays out,” Arum said. “But obviously, one of the reasons we were so enthused about Inoue was that he would bring over a lot of Japanese fans to watch him fight. And also, there are a lot of Japanese Americans living in the United States, who know Inoue and would be great customers at his fights. There’s a Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas that [my wife] Lovee and I go to all the time, and all they wanna talk to me about is Inoue.” 

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Kannabis Kid on 05-05-2020

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;20550654]Narvaez is way past done. I know what weight those others fight at. I mentioned them because they are true elite talents who are either right below or right above his weight class. If he wants to be considered #1…

Comment by TMLT87 on 05-05-2020

Define "huge star" Hes obviously already got a following in his homeland and among hardcore boxing fans, but its unlikely hes going to be a PPV attraction or a guy that casuals know about.

Comment by ShoulderRoll on 05-05-2020

[QUOTE=Kannabis Kid;20550384]Estrada is a 115 lber, Navarette a 122 who is going up to 126 most likely after this corona and Narvaez had still never been stopped doesn't matter his age Inoue ran through him. Nery can't make 118 he's…

Comment by Kannabis Kid on 05-04-2020

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;20550255]Narvaez is anothet old man like Donaire. I would want Inoue to beat a young, prime elite. Someone like Gallo Estrada, Nery, or Navarrete. That would show me something.[/QUOTE] Estrada is a 115 lber, Navarette a 122 who is going…

Comment by ShoulderRoll on 05-04-2020

[QUOTE=Kannabis Kid;20550147]And who exactly do you want him to fight? The only other person at 118 is Casimero who he was already scheduled to fight before this corona ****. Nery can't make 118 so who else can he fight at…

Top Headlines
Hearn is "Very, Very Confident" Fury-Joshua Will Happen in 2021 Tyson Fury Deserves Biggest Contract in Boxing, Says Warren Chisora: I'll Be All Over Usyk - I Won't Stop Chucking Leather Andres Campos Hits The United States To Join Moloney Brothers Jeff Horn is Staying in Shape as He Wait For New Date For Tszyu Showdown Terence Crawford: Pacquiao Wants The Fight; I Think It Can Get Made Mayweather: I Want To Help Black Fighters Grow, It's OK I'm Training Davis-Rival Haney Fredrickson: I'm 100% Prepared, I'm 100% Focused on Alex Saucedo Laila Ali Demanded $5 Million For Claressa Shields Fight News: Eduardo Ramirez, Jorge Cota, Carlos Molina, Talgat Shaiken Jack Catterall Warns Jose Ramirez: Our Fight Will Happen - I Won't Be Denied! Hrgovic Would Fight Joshua Tomorrow if Deal Came, Says Promoter Giovani Santillan Has Bright Future Under Top Rank, Says Manager A Long Day's Journey Into 'Nights' – Bingeing Through HBO's Legendary Documentaries Tyson Fury Tried To FaceTime Joshua, Hearn in Recent Days Holyfield Only Wants To Face Fighters His Age - Lewis, Tyson, Bowe Andy Ruiz Celebrates One Year Anniversary of His Shocker Over Joshua George Floyd's Family Accepts Mayweather's Offer To Pay For His Funeral Frampton: If We Both Win, Pretty Sure Herring Fight Will Happen ESPN Announcers Initially Will Call Fights From Studio & Homes, Not Ringside Abraham Nova vs. Toka Kahn Clary Planned By Top Rank For June 25 Card Stevenson-Caraballo, Magdaleno-Vicente - Full Cards Announced Kerman Lejarraga Ring Return is Targeted For August MTK Fight Night Events To Resume in July, To Be Carried on ESPN+ British Board Fears Some Smaller Promoters Will Go Out of Business Hearn: If Wilder is Not Ready, Whyte Should Get Immediate Fury Title Shot! Dana White: Not Interested in Whyte-Ngannou, Not Thinking About Boxing Xander Zayas Draws Inspiration Through Friendship With Amanda Serrano Fury: If I Don't Get Joshua Fight After Wilder, I'll Give Dillian Whyte A Beating Jorge Linares: Ryan Garcia Has Talent, But He’s Not Ready For A Big Fight Now Hearn Aims To Resume 'Matchroom USA' Events in August Mike Tyson's Path Of Heavyweight Destruction Stands The Test Of Time Liam Paro Targets Jack Catterall Showdown, World Title Fight Jessie Vargas Reflects Back, Praises The Speed of Manny Pacquiao Errol Spence: No Tuneup - I Want a Top Guy in My Return! Boxing Without Boxing: Vassiliy Jirov vs. James Toney - 04/26/2003 Whyte Would Do Ngannou Two-Fight Deal: I'll Beat Him in Boxing and MMA! Spence on Next Three Fights - Garcia, Pacquiao, Then Crawford Hall of Famer Curtis Cokes, First Dallas Champion, Dies at Age 82 Whyte Shakes Head at Sulaiman's Position on Mike Tyson Comeback
Latest Forum Threads