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Naoya Inoue has a standing order to face WBA mandatory challenger Murodjon Akhmadaliev

As has been rumored for some time, undisputed super bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue’s next defense will likely come against former IBF titlist TJ Doheny, with Mike Coppinger reporting that the pair are “finalizing” a deal to meet in Tokyo this coming September.

Doheny (26-4, 20 KO) is no stranger to the Japanese boxing public; he took the belt from Ryosuke Iwasa in 2018 at Korakuen Hall and defended it against Ryohei Takahashi in his first and only defense before a 2-4 skid. “The Power” has since enjoyed a resurgence on Japanese soil, racking up a trio of knockouts over Kazuki Nakajima, Japhethlee Llamido, and Bryl Bayogos over the last 13 months.

Still, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’d like his chances against Inoue (27-0, 24 KO).

It’s worth noting that this matchup likely spells the end of Inoue’s undisputed reign, as the WBA recently ordered him to defend his titles against Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Bob Arum immediately and publicly dismissed Akhmadaliev as irrelevant, so the odds of them having put together a step-aside deal behind the scenes are slim.

Inoue is presumably still on track to meet IBF mandatory Sam Goodman at year’s end, though Goodman’s recent hand injury does create uncertainty there.

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