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Naoya Inoue vs. Yoan Boyeaux this Sat.


By Jim Dower: WBO super flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (14-0, 12 KOs) will be making a voluntary defense this Saturday against #7 WBO Yoan Boyeaux (41-4, 26 KOs) on December 30 at the Bunka Gym, in Yokohama, Japan.

This will be the 7th title defense for the 24-year-old Inoue of his World Boxing Organization 115 lb. title. It’s unclear how much longer Inoue will stay at 115, as there’s talk that he could move up to the bantamweight division to campaign in that weight class.

There’s already a ton of pressure from boxing fans for Inoue to step it up and face WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. By moving up in weight, Inoue can escape the pressure the fans are putting on him to face the dangerous heavy-handed Rungvisai, who might be a little too powerful for him.

Inoue is seen by a lot of boxing fans as the best fighter in the 115-lb. division. However, he still hasn’t made the move to prove it by fighting the likes of Rungvisai, Juan Francisco Estrada, Carlos Cuadras, Roman Gonzalez, Khalid Yafai or Jerwin Ancajas. Those fighters are considered the best in the super flyweight division.

Inoue defeated Antonio Nieves by a 6h round stoppage at SuperFly last September. Inoue won’t be fighting at SuperFly 2 unfortunately. It would have been nice if Inoue had opted to fight on that card.

Boyeaux will have a height and reach advantage over Inoue on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean he’ll win.

The 29-year-old Boyeaux was last beaten by Anthony Settoul by a 10 round unanimous decision 5 years ago in January 2012. Boyeaux has won 31 of his last 32 fights in the last 5 years, albeit against weak opposition. Boyeaux has been padding his record all that time against weak opposition, which is why it’s taken him so long to get a title shot.

Even with a 28-fight winning streak going for him, Boyeaux is still ranked just #7 with the WBO. None of the other sanctioning bodies has Boyeaux ranked in their top 15, which likely has to do with him facing less than top level opposition for the last 5 years.

Boyeaux’s last 6 wins have come against these fighters:

– Mishiko Shubitdze (18-10-3, 6 KOs)

– Nikoloz Kokashvili (21-11-1, 8 KOs)

– Milan Savic (4-24-2, 1 KOs)

– Razmik Grigoryan (9-3-2, 4 KOs)

– Artur Movesian (15-8, 10 KOs)

– Walter Rojas (26-11-1, 25 KOs)

Those are fighters that Boyeaux should have fought at the start of his career, not at this stage. Boyeaux has wasted of his career fighting the wrong guys for some reason. Obviously, Boyeaux has been making a living fighting these type of opponents, but he should have made the move a long time ago to start facing better opponents.

Inoue will likely make quick work of Boyeaux on Saturday. This is a mismatch. Inoue is far too good for this quality of a fighter. Ideally, Inoue should be facing top 5 opposition every time out rather than facing weaker opponents. Rungvisai would be perfect for Inoue. Of course, the outcome wouldn’t be assured. It would be a real fight for Inoue, and he might lose.

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