By Hisao Adachi
At a press gathering in Tokyo, unbeaten World Boxing Association (WBA) "regular" champion Naoya "Monster" Inoue (16-0, 14 KOs) officially announced his first title defense against the left-handed Dominican and former world champion Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9 KOs) on October 7 at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Province, Japan.
The contest is part of the first round of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) bantamweight tournament.
Inoue is the recorgnized frontrunner to emerge triumphant in this tournament, with participants such as current world champions - WBA 'super' champ Ryan Burnett, IBF champ Emmanuel Rodriguez, and WBO champ Zolani Tete. Also in the tournament - Nonito Donaire, Jason Moloney, and Mikhail Aloyan.
In his most recent fight, the sensational Inoue, demolishing Jamie McDonnell in the first round to capture a third divisional belt.
Inoue said: "First of all, I never thought that my fight in this great WBSS event will be held in Yokohama. I feel pride that I will be able to have see action in Yokohama as the first Japanese participant in WBSS, where I will have to submit a maximum pugilistic performance - in search of a knockout in my favor so that Japanese boxing will collect more enthusiasm with fireworks.
"[Becoming a unified champion is] well worth it to throw more desire to myself to be able to achieve a great victory by beating everyone in the WBSS, although it will not be easy.
"I fully realize that the Japanese boxing fans have great expectations in me, I am proud to be a huge favorite of the Japanese fans so that I will be able to succeed beautifully in the WBSS."
This pastt July in Moscow, there was a draft selection to define the first round fights of the WBSS and all of the bantamweight participants came face to face in Moscow.
On that occasion, Inoue's first wish was to fight with Donaire. But, Burnett was ahead of Inoue and named Donaire as his opponent. So for his destiny, Inoue selected Payano.