I still don’t know my full potential

Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs), WBSS Season II Bantamweight Muhammad Ali Trophy winner, is preparing to make his next defense of the WBA and IBF bantamweight titles.

December 7th, 2021

Since winning the Ali Trophy on 7 November 2019 in an epic battle against Nonito Donaire, Inoue has fought twice in the U.S., but he is now back on home soil.

The undefeated pound-for-pound star returns 14 December in Japan, as he faces Thailand’s Aran Dipaen (12-2, 11 KOs).

Fans of Inoue expect – for a good reason – fireworks when the Monster enters the ring at Kokugikan Arena, the Tokyo venue for the traditional sport of sumo wrestling.

“Each and every fan is going to have expectations. And I want to defy and go beyond each and every one of their expectations,” 28-year-old Inoue told The Associated Press.

Inoue could be fighting WBO champion John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21 KOs) in 2022. The pair were set to collide last year, but their bout was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Casimero returns on December 11, when he makes a mandatory defense against Paul Butler. On the same day, WBC champ Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) will defend his title against mandatory challenger Reymart Gaballo.

Inoue is focused on unifying more belts and making a move north to super bantamweight in 2023. And his fans have a lot to look forward to for many years to come.

“I am still far from the ideal style of boxing I am pursuing. If I get contented now, then I will just hit a wall when I go to super bantamweight. There’s so much farther to go before I reach my peak, and I still don’t know my true potential. I still have seven or eight years as a pro, and so I’m going to keep heading higher,” Inoue said.

Kalle Sauerland & Naoya Inoue – Ali Trophy Final.

Inoue’s showing in the World Boxing Super Series was the stuff of legend.

The quarter- and semi-finals were over in a total of just 5 minutes and 29 seconds after two mind-boggling performances against Juan Carlos Payano and Emmanuel Rodriguez.

But in the final, the Japanese ‘Monster’ had to conquer renowned Nonito Donaire over the full distance in a clash aptly dubbed ‘The Drama in Saitama’ and celebrated as Fight of the Year 2019.