By Jake Donovan
Terms have been reached for a mandatory title fight between defending super flyweight champ Nayoa “Monster” Inoue and top-rated challenger David Carmona, BoxingScene.com has learned.
The two camps were granted an extension beyond the initial 10-day period imposed by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) in confidence that a deal could be reached. They were able to do just that, thus avoid the fight going to a purse bid.
“They have reached an agreement,” WBO President Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel. “The fight will take place in May.”
The title fight will take place in Japan, although the exact date remains up in the air as it is dependent upon lining up venue availability with Fuji TV, which will air the bout live.
Carmona was granted mandatory status after allowing Warlito Parrenas – with whom he fought to a draw in their vacant interim title fight last July – to get first dibs at Inoue upon the unbeaten super flyweight champion’s ring return just prior to last New Year’s Eve.
An interim title fight between Carmona and Parrenas was designed to establish a mandatory challenger for such an occasion. However, their stalemate left handlers with a number of scenarios to ponder. Instead, they agreed to separate shots at Inoue.
The first leg of that agreement marked the long awaited return of one of the hottest rising stars in the sport. Inoue claimed 2014 BoxingScene.com Fighter of the Year honors on the strength of title-winning knockout efforts over top-rated junior flyweight Adrian Hernandez (April ‘14) and long-reigning super flyweight titlist Omar Narvaez in 2014.
The latter win came at a price, however, as Inoue suffered a hand injury which required surgery and an extended break from the ring to allow the healing process to fully take.
Inoue (9-0, 8KOs) enjoyed a triumphant return last December, scoring a 2nd round knockout of Parrenas on the same show that saw all-action hero Akira Yaegashi turn back the clock with a 12-round win over Javier Mendoza to lift the junior flyweight title in becoming a three-division champ.
Yaegashi has declared a willingness to face any super flyweight titlist (though admittedly Inoue is the last option given they train in the same gym) in an attempt to become Japan’s first-ever four division champion. For now, he might have to settle for a return spot on Inoue's undercard on the planned show in May.
Beyond that, even a last-option showdown with Inoue would likely have to wait out a still-in-queue contracted rematch between Inoue and Narvaez, the latter whom returns in February against a yet-to-be-named opponent in his native Argentina.
The rematch with Narvaez is rumored to serve as a planned stateside debut for Inoue, whose prodigious talents have caught the eye of American cable giant HBO. Boxing’s hipsters continue to salivate over the thought of Inoue one day facing World flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez, who is now part of the HBO family and also recognized by many outlets as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Such a fight is further down the road, perhaps even taking place in 2017 as long as they both keep winning. The odds suggest Inoue will be in good shape through May.
Carmona (20-2-5, 8KOs) lands his second career title shot (third including his aforementioned interim title bout with Parrenas) in his forthcoming showdown with Inoue. The mandatory title fight will land right around his 25th birthday while closing in on seven years in the pro ranks.
His lone shot at a real title ended in a disastrous 7th round knockout loss to Narvaez in their Dec. ’13 clash in Argentina, Carmona’s first career fight outside of Mexico. He has only strayed from home on one other occasion, coming in a 10-round decision win over Daniel Lozano last March in Florida. The feat earned Carmona top honors in Telemundo’s eight-man super flyweight tournament.
Overall, Carmona is unbeaten in his last five starts. His most recent fight came last October, scoring a 10-round repeat win over Ricardo Rodriguez in means to stay active while waiting out Inoue’s defense versus Parrenas.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox