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Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue won’t become a global star says Eddie Hearn

Naoya Inoue

By William Lloyd: Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn dismisses the idea that Naoya Inoue can become a global superstar. Despite having captured world titles in three weight classes and having amazing knockout skills, Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) fights in the wrong division to become a global star, says Hearn.

Eddie knows from experience that it’s impossible to turn the smaller fight fighters into huge stars. For example, former four-division world champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez and Juan Franciso Estrada are not global stars, and they have amazing talent.

‘Monster’ Inoue currently holds the IBF & WBA 118-lb titles, and he’s on a quest to become the undisputed champion in the weight class in 2021.

But even if Inoue does accomplish that goal, it’s going to pass right over the heads of the casual boxing fans, who seem more interested in the following weight classes:

  • 135
  • 147
  • 154
  • 160
  • 168
  • Unlimited

If Inoue can move up four more weight classes to campaign at 135, he would have a chance to become a global star.

It sounds like many divisions, but it’s only 17 lbs that Inoue would need to move up to campaign at lightweight.

Naoya Inoue WON’T become a global star

“No, definitely not on the cusp of becoming any kind of global star because unfortunately, he doesn’t have the global profile, and unfortunately, he’s in a weight division that doesn’t really warrant that,” said Eddie Hearn to the DAZN Boxing Show when asked if Naoya Inoue is on the cusp of becoming a global star.

“By the way, it’s no fault of their own because he [Inoue] is a pound-for-pound powerhouse,” continued Hearn. “He’s fantastic, but to become a global star, you have to encapsulate the casual audience.

“I promise you; you can walk down; the UK is an experienced, very knowledgeable boxing market.

“You could walk down the street and talk about Inoue, and no one would really understand who he is.

“That’s because he’s being broadcast at five o’clock in the morning, and not a lot of people are watching. But also, because he’s a bantamweight, and us as boxing fans, I love watching Inoue,” Hearn said.

Hearn is right about Inoue not becoming a global star due to him fighting in the wrong division.

That’s not his fault if he doesn’t make it to the superstar status worldwide. The fans aren’t keen on the 118-lb division, but maybe someday they will.

Assuming Inoue is ambitious, he might want to follow in the large footsteps of Manny Pacquiao, who started his professional career at light flyweight [108] and has moved up 9 divisions to where he now campaigns at 147.

Inoue wouldn’t have to move up as many divisions as Pacquiao for him to become a global star. He needs to go up four divisions in weight, but it would help if Inoue went up five or six to campaign at 140 or 147.

You can’t say it’s not possible because Pacquiao did it, and he never possessed the one-punch power that Inoue has.

Inoue CAN become a global pound-for-pound great

I watched him live beat [Emmanuel] Rodriguez; it was unbelievable,” continued Hearn.

Naoya Inoue

“I know [Michael] Dasmarinas, or whatever his name was, isn’t the greatest fighter of all time, but it’s the footwork, it’s the power, he’s extremely exciting.

“Global stars are a bit strong but pound-for-pound great, yes. He deserves that respect.

“It’s very difficult for those smaller guys. Look, if [Juan Francisco] Estrada and [Roman] Chocolatito [Gonzalez] were middleweights, that trilogy would be the one that the world would stop and watch, and it should be.

“Inoue should be a global star, but a hell of a long way to go,” said Hearn in making it clear that Top Rank is wasting their time attempting to turn ‘Monster’ Inoue into a huge star in the U.S.

It’s a much easier task for Inoue to become a global pound-for-pound great than a global star because then he doesn’t need to worry about going up in weight.




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