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Naoya Inoue likely to return April 25, according to Bob Arum

The bantamweight titleholder could do a unification in a headline fight.

BOXING-JPN Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Unified IBF and WBA bantamweight titleholder Naoya Inoue is currently recovering from a fractured orbital following his violent Nov. 7 victory over Nonito Donaire to unify those belts, but his return after signing with Top Rank is in motion.

Promoter Bob Arum was in Japan for the Ryota Murata-Steven Butler card that took place today, and told the Japanese press that he’s planning for Inoue to return on April 25 in the US, in a main event, and that he’s hopeful of getting a further unification with either WBC titleholder Nordine Oubaali or WBO titleholder John Riel Casimero.

Inoue (19-0, 16 KO) is one of the brightest young stars in boxing. The 26-year-old “Monster” has won belts at 108, 115, and 118, and has largely dominated in his career.

Both Oubaali (17-0, 12 KO) and Casimero (29-4, 20 KO) would be terrific opponents, and there’s story with both of them. Casimero, another Filipino, could take a crack where Donaire came up a little short, and he said openly after upsetting Zolani Tete that he wants the fight with Inoue. Oubaali beat Naoya’s brother Takuma on the same Nov. 7 card in Japan, so the story there is very obvious.

Inoue does have an IBF mandatory order to face Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20 KO), but Arum thinks the order might be negotiable to allow a unification to come first.

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