By Jack Tiernan: Eddie Hearn states that if Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue dethrones WBC/WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton, he’ll agree to make a fight between the Japanese star and IBF/WBA champ Murodjon Akhmadaliev for the undisputed 122-lb championship this year.
That shows a lot of class by Hearn not to be an obstacle to making an important fight for the super bantamweight division and boxing, especially given that his fighter Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8 KOs) will likely be a colossal underdog against the 29-year-old former three-division world champion ‘Monster’ Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs).
“Inoue wants to be undisputed at 122 pounds,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social when asked if he’ll allow Naoya Inoue to face IBF & WBA super bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev for the undisputed championship at 122 if the Japanese star defeats WBC & WBO champ Stephen Fulton.
“So by the way, Inoue against Fulton and Inoue against Akhmadaliev, f***ing unbelievable fights. So we are there. Akhmadaliev has a [WBA 122-lb] mandatory against [Marlon] Tapales. We are ready to fight Inoue.
The real obstacle to Inoue becoming undisputed champion at 122 is trying to rip the IBF & WBA titles from Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) because he’s an excellent boxer who is on another level to the guys that Naoya has faced during his career.
“I’ve spoken to Vadim [Kornilov], I’ve spoken to MJ; They want Inoue. They like that fight. We’re ready to do Akhmadaliev against Inoue as well first for the undisputed after Fulton. Great fights for the division,” said Hearn.
It’s too early for Hearn to be volunteering the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Akhmadaliev for a fight against Inoue because he might lose to Fulton.
Inoue has fought some quality guys, like Nonito Donaire, Jamie McDonnell, Jason Moloney, and Emmanuel Rodriguez, but none of those fighters were in the same league as Fulton.
Given Inoue’s weak resume, you don’t know how he’ll deal with a fighter like Fulton or even Akhmadaliev. These are a level above the guys Inoue has fought.
Donaire was an excellent fighter, but by the time Inoue fought him for the first time in 2019, he was 37 and nowhere near the guy he’d been a decade earlier.
A prime Donaire likely would have been too much for Inoue, but the Japanese star caught him at the right time in his career after he’d gotten old. There was a certain ruggedness that Donaire had during his prime that is missing from Inoue.