IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue has officially announced his next bout, a December 14th clash with IBF #6 contender Aran Dipaen in Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan. The fight will serve as half of a world title doubleheader alongside Wilfredo “Bimbito” Mendez’s WBO mandatory minimumweight defense against Masataka Taniguchi.
次戦12月14日(火)両国国技館— 井上尚弥 Naoya Inoue (@naoyainoue_410) October 29, 2021
It is, as we said when it was first revealed, a terrible fight. Dipaen (12-2, 11 KO) is an entirely undeserving challenger who only got his position in the rankings due to the IBF overvaluing its regional belts. It’s worth noting, however, that he wasn’t Inoue’s (21-0, 18 KO) first choice. He and his team reportedly tried to put together solid fights with Rau’shee Warren and Gary Antonio Russell, neither of which panned out, and Japan’s strict coronavirus protocols make bringing in overseas fighters a hard sell.
Thus, we get to watch “The Monster” brutalize someone again while crossing our fingers that he’ll meet Nonito Donaire or John Riel Casimero next year.
Puerto Rico’s Mendez (16-1, 6 KO) ends a 22-month layoff for the first defense of his title, which he took from Vic Saludar and defended against Axel Aragon Vega and Gabriel Mendoza. Taniguchi (14-3, 9 KO), who lost to Saludar in a previous bid for that title, currently holds the Japanese belt.