This afternoon in Tokyo, Mr. Ohashi, the president of the Ohashi Gym, called a press conference and updated the boxing world on the status of its star boxer, WBO super flyweight champion, Naoya Inoue.
The plan has been and continues to be to have Inoue fight on New Years Eve in Tokyo; the highlight calendar date for Japanese boxing. There’s just one problem: nobody will fight him.
According to Nikkan Sports, a major Japanese newspaper that was present at the press conference, Mr. Ohashi said that their priority had to been to match Inoue in a unification fight with IBF super flyweight champion, Jerwin Ancajas. Ohashi went on to say that they had agreed to all of the terms laid out by the Ancajas camp, though as reported earlier this week, Ancajas went in another direction and will fight Jamie Conlan on Novemeber 18th instead.
This development was disappointing to the Ohashi Gym as it was further reported by Nikkan that Mr. Ohashi and the Ancajas team also agreed to terms last May.
It’s unclear if Nikkan is suggesting that a summer fight was supposed to happen or if the IBF-ordered defense that Ancajas successfully made this past July on the Pacquiao undercard hindered potential agreements. This is in stark contrast to what Sean Gibbons, Ancajas’s manager/matchmaker told No Sparring last summer, in denying any type of agreement was made or even offered.
When reached for comment on why Ancajas agreed to face Conlan instead of unifying with Inoue on NYE, Gibbons said: “Simple. Its a great fight for Jerwin on a huge card from Belfast. Simple as that.”
Looking at potential opponents for a NYE fight, Inoue and his gym president Mr. Ohashi have slim pickings. The WBO’s number one ranked super flyweight fighter is Juan Francisco Estrada but he’s expected to face WBC boss Srisaket Sor Rungvisai early next year; WBO number two is Hong Kong’s Rex Tso who’s scheduled to fight next month; three is Conlan, mentioned above; WBA champ Kal Yafai is penciled in on the massive Anthony Joshua undercard October 28th against undefeated and top rated Sho Ishida. That leaves Brian Viloria, Rau’shee Warren, and Jonas Sultan as less desirable but potential options.