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.