Japanese boxing fans won’t have to wait until New Year’s Eve to see some quality championship action. WBA bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue announced on Twitter that he’ll make his inaugural defense on November 15th against Jerwin Ancajas.
Though the lesser of the Inoue brothers, which isn’t much of a condemnation when virtually every boxer alive is lesser than Naoya, Takuma (18-1, 4 KO) is a quality pro in his own right. He’s 5-0 since falling to Nordine Oubaali in 2019, notably beating capable countrymen in Keita Kurihara and Shingo Wake before claiming vacant gold with a workmanlike performance against veteran Liborio Solis in April.
“Pretty Boy” Ancajas (34-3-2, 23 KO) spent more than half a decade as IBF super flyweight champ, racking up some solid title defenses but diligently avoiding the Superfly crucible where his contemporaries made their names. A February 2022 upset loss to Fernando Martinez ended his reign; Ancajas was quick to blame a botched weight cut and initially announced a move to 118, but instead pursued a rematch, which saw him fall once again on nearly identical scores.
This will be his first fight at 118, having shaken some rust last June in a super bantamweight nothing fight with Wilner Soto.
Strong matchup here, and unlike some shows I could name, it won’t be the only attraction that evening. WBA flyweight champ Artem Dalakian (22-0, 15 KO) will make his seventh defense in hostile territory against Seigo Yuri Akui (18-2-1, 11 KO) in the co-feature.
You’ll recall Dalakian from last January’s narrow victory over David Jimenez, which sent Tim Bradley and Andre Ward into apoplectic rage after they essentially made up both Dalakian’s backstory and the entire narrative of the fight wholecloth. He’s old for the division at 36 and struggled with Jimenez amid a soft reign, but he can still fight. Akui, for his part, boasts strong wins over Masamichi Yabuki and Taku Kuwahara amid losses to Junto Nakatani (understandable) and Jaysever Abcede (not so much).