Naoya Inoue likes the sensation of being the challenger, a minimum of up to a degree.
It is one thing he hasn’t skilled in over 5 years, when he stepped into the ring for his bantamweight debut in opposition to then-runner-up WBA champion Jamie McDonnell. Inoue wanted simply 112 seconds to win in a division he would totally unify. The identical stage of destruction got here from his second-round elimination of Emmanuel Rodriguez, an undefeated IBF titlist on the time of their Could 2010 assembly and the primary actual step in direction of Inoue’s undisputed run.
Few anticipate Inoue to get pleasure from such a stage of dominance when he challenges Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs), undefeated WBC/WBO junior featherweight title. However the former unbeaten three-division champion’s private expectation is to rise to the event.
“That is the purpose. Being a challenger for the title motivates me strongly,” Inoue instructed the assembled media at their remaining pre-fight press convention on Saturday in Japan. “I might carry out higher than in my earlier fights.”
A win for Inoue (24-0, 21KOs) will make him the first-ever Japanese boxer to assert unified title standing in two weight lessons. He will even change into the nation’s third boxer to win a minimum of one title in 4 weight lessons, becoming a member of Naoko Fujioka and Kazuto Ioka if he prevails in Tuesday’s important occasion from Tokyo’s Ariake Enviornment.
It is going to be fairly a press release if he is ready to high the title wins he has been posting, particularly early in his bantamweight run.
The 30-year-old from Yokohama went 9-0 with eight knockouts throughout his four-plus-year destruction tour. The run included victories over 4 defending titleholders – Rodriguez, Nonito Donaire twice (for the WBA title and later for the WBC belt) after which Paul Butler on Dec. 13 to change into the division’s first undisputed champion within the three- or four-belt period.
Regardless of shifting as much as a fourth weight division, Inoue stays a wholesome favourite to defeat visiting Fulton. The truth is, the chances have elevated over the previous few days as bet365 sportsbooks now put the pound-for-pound entrant at -400 to beat Philadelphia’s Fulton, who is taken into account a +300 underdog to increase a title reign that dates again to his January 2021 factors victory over Angelo Leo.
“It is my first combat (at 122) and I am prepared,” insisted Inoue. “That is why I am very motivated. I’ve excessive expectations of myself. I am unable to wait to indicate the sort of efficiency I can ship.
Jake Donovan is Senior Author for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox