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.
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.