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Naoya Inoue, Jason Moloney in talks for title fight

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Inoue currently holds the IBF and WBA “super” bantamweight titles.

Naoya Inoue v Nonito Donaire - WBSS Bantamweight Final Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

John Riel Casimero isn’t the only one looking to stay busy until his planned unification match with Naoya Inoue becomes physically and financially feasible again. Top Rank’s Carl Moretti tells The Athletic that Inoue and fellow WBSS alumnus Jason Moloney are “in advanced talks” for a title bout later this year; though they’ve not reached an agreement yet, one “appears likely.”

Inoue (19-0, 16 KO) does theoretically still have IBF mandatory Michael Dasmarinas to deal with, as a non-unification defense doesn’t take precedence, but I’m sure something can be arranged.

Bob Arum first floated this matchup late last month, saying it “may be an even better fight” than the original. I wouldn’t go that far, especially considering the hardware deficit, but it’s hard to imagine these two not producing some sort of “of the Year” candidate. Inoue’s destructive prowess is well-documented, having stopped his last three pre-Donaire opponents in under eight minutes combined, and Moloney (21-1, 18 KO) has been on the warpath since narrowly falling to Emmanuel Rodriguez in the WBSS quarterfinals, most recently battering Leonardo Baez in June.

Major props to both Casimero and Inoue if they do end up making risky defenses instead of twiddling their thumbs. Perhaps an ESPN doubleheader is brewing?