EL PASO, Texas (April 23, 2024) — Mexican former two-division world champion Luis Nery is aware that the odds are stacked against him, but a major upset in Tokyo wouldn’t be the first of its kind.

Nery will challenge pound-for-pound king Naoya “Monster” Inoue for the undisputed junior featherweight world championship on Monday, May 6 at the Tokyo Dome.

This will be the first boxing event at “The Big Egg” since February 1990, when James “Buster” Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson in the 10th round to capture the undisputed heavyweight crown in one of the sport’s biggest upsets.

Inoue-Nery and three additional world title showdowns will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ starting at 4 a.m. ET/1 a.m. PT. 

In the co-feature, Australia’s Jason “Mayhem” Moloney (27-2, 19 KOs) will defend his WBO bantamweight world title against former kickboxing world champion Yoshiki Takei (8-0, 8 KOs).

Takuma Inoue (19-1, 5 KOs), Naoya’s younger brother, will put his WBA bantamweight crown on the line against former world title challenger Sho Ishida (34-3, 17 KOs), and Seigo Yuri Akui (19-2-1, 11 KOs) will risk his WBA flyweight world title against Taku Kuwahara (13-1, 8 KOs) in a rematch of their 2021 encounter.

Nery (35-1, 27 KOs) captured the WBC bantamweight world title by beating Shinsuke Yamanaka in August 2017, but lost it the following year after failing to make weight for their rematch. He moved up to junior featherweight, where he earned the WBC strap against Aaron Alameda in September 2020. The 29-year-old suffered his first loss in a unification showdown against WBA champ Brandon Figueroa in May 2021. Since that defeat, Nery has gone 4-0 with three knockouts, including a dramatic 11th-round stoppage of Azat Hovhannisyan last February in a Fight of the Year contender. Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs), a four-division world champion, looks to defend his undisputed crown after last year’s demolitions of unified world champions Stephen Fulton and Marlon Tapales. 

Following a recent training session in El Paso, Texas, this is what Nery had to say:

“This is the highest stage one can reach as a fighter. It’s like soccer players who prepare their entire lives for a World Cup. It’s the same. This is bigger than being a world champion. It’s four belts. It’s undisputed.”

“I’ve been wanting to fight him for about three years now. Fortunately, the opportunity has come, and we are taking it seriously. He is an elite fighter. He’s among the best fighters. He is fast. He is strong. But he has weaknesses, and he does take some punches.” 

“I’m the only one who can beat Inoue because I have good power, I can take punches, I have heart, and I’m willing to die in the ring. I’m a fighter who, above all, is a brawler. I like to brawl in the ring. But, I like to counter as well. If the fight allows for it, and if the fighter and the style allow for it, then I do it. I adapt to whatever style of fight I’m in to get the victory.”

“I think that Inoue shouldn’t have taken this fight. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t have taken it. He has nothing to win by beating me. In fact, he has everything to lose. I have nothing to lose. I’m not a champion. I’m not at the top like him. I’m going for all the marbles. I’m coming with everything. I will take risks, and I’m willing to die in the ring.

“This is an important fight. It deserves to be in an arena that is just as important like the Tokyo Dome. And I think it’s a sign. If Mike Tyson can lose his unbeaten record there, then so can Naoya Inoue. Now, Mike Tyson was actually a monster. He for sure was an assassin. So, I’m happy that they made the fight at Tokyo Dome.”

“I will win by knockout. There’s no other way. I know that either he or I will be stopped. But I’m sure that he will be stopped.”

Read the full article here