Twenty-five-year-old super bantamweight contender Sam Goodman flew himself to Japan to be ringside to watch Naoya Inoue vs. Luis Nery last weekend, not knowing that he would find himself in the ring following the fireworks at the Tokyo Dome.

Goodman is ranked No. 1 by the IBF and WBO for two of Inoue’s four titles, and the 18-0 (8 KOs) Australian, from Albion Park, New South Wales, had not planned on being able to call Inoue out in front of tens of thousands of the Japanese star’s fans. 

“Look, we played musical chairs to get to the front but we finally got there and he invited us into the ring,” said Goodman. “I’m the mandatory, I have been for almost a year now and I’ve been waiting for my shot for a long time, so it’s got to come shortly.”

Inoue is ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 pound-for-pound, depending on the list, and his prospective challenger told BoxingScene he realised he would be up against it if they met, but Goodman is relishing facing 27-0 (24 KOs) Inoue.

“He’s very good, pound-for-pound he’s one of the best,” Goodman said. “I know it’s not an easy task and I know it’s a big challenge but look, what else are you in this sport for? You’re in this sport to make your own greatness, and this does that for me. I know it’s a massive, massive challenge, but I know I can pull this off as well. I have to box to the best of my ability and I think if I do that, I can beat this man.

“I’m aware of the challenge it presents and how good he is, but I know how good I am, and I’m excited for it.”

It is thought Inoue may box in September and again in December, with Goodman being the second opponent. Inoue, 31, has never been hotter in the wake of Monday’s scintillating victory over Nery. Inoue was clattered to the floor in the first round, but sparkled in knocking down Nery three times and winning in the sixth.

“Styles make fights and he got caught early and that just shows everyone’s human,” Goodman said. “At this level, anyone can be hurt, anyone can be outfought, no one’s invincible, everyone wants to build someone up to be a superhero. We’re not. Everyone’s human and anyone can be beaten on any given day. I’m just excited to show that when I get my chance.

“Realistically, it’s going to be here, the States or Saudi Arabia. I’d say they’re the three options. I don’t think there’s enough pulling power in Australia to bring him over there unless it’s something he really wanted to tick off, but I’m keen to fight abroad as well. 

“I haven’t done it yet as a professional. I’ve done it as an amateur plenty of times and I’m well-travelled so it’s something I’m accustomed to and if we’ve got to go overseas, let’s do it.

Goodman said he will not wait for Inoue, and his own team plans for him to fight in July. He also smiled about how he found himself in the ring with Inoue on Monday night. Goodman wanted to get Inoue’s attention but had not seen it going as far as it did.

“They invited me into the ring,” he said. “We’re pushing our case, we paid our own money to come over here to push my case. I was screaming at him from outside the ring and got called in there. I just came over here, shot my shot and we will see what comes of it.

“I’m just focusing on one job, and that’s to upset the party.”

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