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Warren wants Zolani Tete vs. Naoya Inoue

Latest Frank Warren Naoya Inoue Zolani Tete


By Marcus Richardson: Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue (15-0, 13 KOs) has the option of fighting for the WBO bantamweight title right away against champion Zolani Tete (26-3, 21 KOs) when he moves up to the 118-lb. division this year.

Tete’s promoter Frank Warren is agreeable to making the Tete vs. Inoue fight if the Japanese fighter wants it. Warren says he’d make the Tete vs. Inoue fight in a “heartbeat,” and he’s not kidding.


Inoue, 24, has already said that he’d like to face Tete. Now it’s up to Inoue’s management to determine whether they want the fight with Tete or not. There are arguably safer moves Inoue can make if he wants to win a world title. IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett would be winnable option for Inoue, as would WBC champion Luis Nery.

Inoue looked devastating in knocking out Yoann Boyeaux (41-5, 26 KOs) in the 3rd round last Saturday night in Yokohama, Japan. Inoue knocked Boyeaux down 3 times in the fight. Inoue probably could have finished Boyeaux off in round 2 if he wanted to. It looked like Inoue toyed with Boyeaux until taking him out in the 3rd.

Inoue doesn’t mess around when he enters a new weight class. When Inoue moved up from light flyweight to the super flyweight division in December 2014, he took on WBO World 115 lb. champion Omar Andres Narvaez in his first fight in the division, and he knocked him out in the 2nd round. Inoue didn’t want to slowly move up to super flyweight. He moved up all at once.

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”Our man Zolani has a mandatory to oblige first against Omar Andres Narvaez, but after that there is no reason at all why this mega-fight cannot happen,” said Warren in his column at frankwarren.com. ”We would sign up for it in a heartbeat. Naoya Inoue was also not shy in naming names as he clearly wants to take on the best at bantamweight and that is obviously Zolani Tete. That would be the fight that Rigondeaux-Lomachenko wasn’t! There would be no swerving this one from either man and it would be an absolute belter,” said Warren.

Tete, 29, will be making a title defense against Narvaez next month on December 10 at the Copper Box Arena in London, England. After that fight, Tete has an open schedule. If Inoue is interested in fighting for a world title at bantamweight, then he can face Tete in the summer or earlier possibly.

It’s going to be a different story though for Inoue than what he’s been experiencing at super flyweight. Tete is clearly a much bigger puncher than anyone that Inoue has ever faced before at the pro level. It’s going to be a big step up in class for Inoue as far as dealing with someone with a lot of punching power. Tete isn’t a light puncher that Inoue can tee off on without worry about getting hit back with full force.

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”Those are the kind of fights we’re looking for,” said Tete to Boxnation.com, in discussing the Inoue fight. ”I’m ready to fight anyone in the bantamweight division,” said Tete.

Tete wants to fight bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett, but his promoter Eddie Hearn doesn’t wish to make that match currently.

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