By Jake Donovan
Naoya Inoue isn’t the only one in the family with a big fight this fall.
As the unbeaten three-division and reigning bantamweight titlist prepares for his recently announced Nov. 7 unification bout and World Boxing Super Series finals versus Nonito Donaire, younger brother Takuma Inoue vies for his first major title.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Inoue (13-0, 3KOs) is in advanced talks with unbeaten Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12KOs) for a title consolidation bout, also targeted for the fall. Oubaali holds the World Boxing Council (WBC) 118-pound title, while the younger Inoue is recognized as the sanctioning body’s interim titlist.
Sources with knowledge of such talks have suggested a deal should be reached within the next two weeks but remains very much on course to take place around the same timeframe—if not on the same card—as the aforementioned WBSS bantamweight finals.
Both were afforded the opportunity to take a voluntary defense before entering a head-on collision. Japan's Inoue passed on the offer, having not fought since claiming an interim title in a 12-round win over previously unbeaten Petch Sor Chitpattana last December.
"Takuma Inoue allowed Nordine Oubaali a voluntary fight, with the agreement to fight next," Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC confirmed to BoxingScene.com.
France's Oubaali won the full version of the title one month later, outpointing former amateur rival Rau’Shee Warren in their battle of multi-tour Olympians. Oubaali—whom represented France in the 2008 and 2012—traveled to Las Vegas to score the competitive but clear win over Warren, a three-time U.S. Olympian and former bantamweight titlist.
One defense has followed, a 6th round stoppage of Arthur Villanueva this past July.
The hope on the Inoue side is for the bout to land on the same show as older brother Naoya, which will stream live on DAZN-USA in conjunction with a yet-to-be-announced outlet in Japan.
Oubaali’s side is not averse to traveling abroad for the 33-year old’s second title defense, although other destinations (which BoxingScene.com has made the editorial decision to not disclose) are also being considered.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox