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Naoya Inoue Eyes WBO Title, But Also Considering Jump in Weight

In an exclusive interview, Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue breaks down his incredible WBSS journey which saw him winning the Muhammad Ali Trophy and unifying the IBF & WBA titles after wins over Juan Carlos Payano, Emmanuel Rodriguez & Nonito Donaire.

The Quarter- and Semi-Final were over in a total of just 5 minutes and 29 seconds after two mind-boggling performances against Payano and Rodriguez. But in the final, the Japanese ‘Monster’ had to conquer legendary Donaire over the full distance in a battle aptly dubbed ‘The Drama in Saitama’ and celebrated as Fight of the Year 2019.


What were your thoughts when you became part of the WBSS?

“I was struggling to find opponents when I was at Super Flyweight, so it was such a delight for me to be a part of the WBSS.”

What went through your head after beating Payano in just 70 seconds?

“I never imagined myself beating Payano in 70 seconds before the fight. I felt our moves like slow motion around the end of the fight, so I can say that I was in the zone.”

The Rodriguez fight …what are your memories from that fight?

“I was so excited because it was my first fight in Glasgow as well as my first title unification bout. I won in the best possible way. It became such a great memory for me.”

What was it like to fight Donaire? What did you learn from the fight and how deep did you have to dig in order to win?

“Donaire is one of the boxing legends to me. This thought made it impossible to make a prediction of how our fight would go. Even though I suffered an orbital fracture in the second round, I tried to stay smart. I won via decision. It was such a big test for me.”

Looking back at the tournament, what is your favorite moment, and what are your hopes for the future?

“The most impressive experience at the WBSS is all the stage production such as lighting and so on. And I still remember the weight of the (Ali) trophy I was given after the Final.

"I guess I got a number of choices right now … The unification bout with WBO and going up a weight division etc. I will discuss it with my team and make my decision.”

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by angkag on 07-30-2020

[QUOTE=Yodpayak;20681807]Sounds like he wants to duck Rigo, but I hope Im wrong.[/QUOTE] Inoue v Rigo was never on the cards to begin with. He was scheduled for Casimero, then logically winner of Oubaali/Donaire to unify. That's the Ring rated 1,2,3,4…

Comment by Yodpayak on 07-30-2020

Sounds like he wants to duck Rigo, but I hope Im wrong.

Comment by tokon on 07-30-2020

I think there's a good possibility that the casimero fight will go ahead, even if it ends up in Japan. It would also be nice for Inoue to unify at 118 before moving up.

Comment by 1hourRun on 07-30-2020

Its been about 34 years since Bantamweight had a lineal champion, and 55 years since a Japanese owned the 118 lineage ; the great Fighting Harada was the last. There is more historical significance beating John Riel Casimero at Bantamweight.…

Comment by nalamboxing on 07-30-2020

I’ll love for him to unify and then possibly fight Nery for a belt one day in the near future. As long as he can get some more names that the boxing public knows then he’ll get what he rightfully…

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