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Naoya Inoue vs. Emanuel Navarrete = Monster’s next big fight?

Naoya Inoue Nonito Donaire Emanuel Navarrete Inoue vs. Donaire

By Chris Williams: The victory for Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) eliminated his only appealing fight at bantamweight last weekend in beating WBA champion Nonito Donaire by a 12 round decision in Saitama, Japan.


A real test for Inoue would be for him to move up to 122 and take on WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete (29-1, 25 KOs). That would be a huge fight, as Navarrete is the ‘Monster’ of the super bantamweight division now, and looking unbeatable. There is no point in Inoue staying at bantamweight.

Will Inoue avoid facing Emanuel Navarrete?


Navarrete, 5’7″, is the same height as Donaire, but he’s a lot younger 24, and fighting at a much higher level. He has arguably better punching power than Donaire with either hand, and Inoue would have a lot to worry about.

Against Donaire, Inoue only had to avoid his big left hooks, as that’s his bread & butter punch. Navarrete is different. He punches hard with BOTH hands, and Inoue wouldn’t be able to look just one punch like he did against Donaire. Every shot that Navarrete throws at Inoue would be a potential knockout.

Naoya Inoue vs. Nordine Oubaali = predictable fight

It’s probable that Inoue will stay at 118 and take on WBC champion Nordine Oubaali in his next fight in order to get revenge for him beating his brother Takuma Inoue. It’s pointless though. Oubaali looked mediocre in beating  the badly flawed Takuma.

It’s a SAFE fight for Inoue, because Oubaali can’t punch, and is slow of hand. He runs out of gas quickly, and struggles even against lesser fighters like Takuma. U.S boxing fans won’t care to see Inoue fight Oubaali, as neither of them are well known. Oubaali is from France, and he’s not looked impressive in his performances that have been shown in the States.

Unless Naoya wants to waste his career avenging his brother’s defeats, he needs to move up to 122 and take on better fighters like Navarette. This won’t be the last time Naoya’s brother Takuma loses. He can’t punch, he’s slow, and he doesn’t have the talent to be a world champion. Naoya needs to forget about avenging his loss to Oubaali, and move on.

‘Monster’ Inoue has FEW options at 118

Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs) was the only name fighter in the 118-lb weight class for Inoue, and he took care of him easily to win the World Boxing Super Series tournament. The only guy left for ‘Monster’ Inoue to fight at bantamweight is former WBC champion Luis Nery (30-0, 24 KOs).

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While that would be a great fight, it’s likely not one that can be made. With ‘Monster’ Inoue signing with Top Rank Boxing, it puts him on the opposite side of the street with PBC fighter Nery.  Now that Inoue is with Top Rank, it’s VERY unlikely that he’ll face the talented 24-year-old Nery. Since that fight is unlikely, the other options for Inoue at 118 are these guys:

  • Zolani Tete
  • Nordine Ouabaali

WBC bantamweight champion Ouabaali (17-0, 12 KOs) looked pedestrian in struggling to beat Naoya’s younger brother Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday on the Inoue-Donaire undercard.

WBO bantamweight champion Tete (28-3, 21 KOs) has already been beaten three times as a professional, and he’s viewed as a paper champion by a lot of fans.  Tete looked terrible in winning his last fight against Mikhail Aloyan on October 13 by a close 12 round decision.

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WBC orders Nordine Oubaali to defend 118-lb title against Nonito Donaire

122 pound division has more names for Inoue

There’s no question that the super bantamweight division has far more names for Inoue to fight than at 118. Since Inoue WON’T be able to fight Nery due to the politics of boxing, he’ll be left with just Ouabaali and Tete at 118. Those are both mismatches for Inoue, which is what he’s had his entire career. Donaire is the only guy that had a sliver of a chance of beating Inoue going into the match. But it would be a different story if Inoue moves up to 122, because there actual talented fighters in that division.

These are the guys that Naoya Inoue would be able to fight at super bantamweight:

  • Emanuel Navarrete
  • Rey Vargas
  • Guillermo Rigondeaux
  • Ryosuke Iwasa
  • Daniel Roman
  • Murodjon Akhmadaliev
  • Brandon Figueroa
  • TJ Doheny
  • Carlos Castro
  • Isaac Dogboe

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