In a fight that is expected to be filled with bombs,  undisputed super bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs) is set to  defend his titles against his WBC mandatory challenger Luis ‘Pantera’ Nery (35-1, 27 KOs) on Monday, May 6 at Tokyo Dome LIVE on ESPN+ at 4 a.m. ET/1 a.m. PT. 

In the exciting co-feature, Jason “Mayhem” Moloney of Australia (27-2, 19 KOs) will defend his WBO bantamweight world title against former kickboxing champion Yoshiki Takei (8-0, 8 KOs), who brings a perfect knockout record from Japan.

Adding to the international flavor, Takuma Inoue (19-1, 5 KOs), the younger sibling of renowned bantamweight Naoya Inoue, is set to defend his WBA bantamweight title. His opponent, Sho Ishida (34-3, 17 KOs), is a seasoned fighter and former world title contender, promising a clash filled with strategic prowess.

Moreover, the card features a critical rematch as Seigo Yuri Akui (19-2-1, 11 KOs) stakes his WBA flyweight world title against Taku Kuwahara (13-1, 8 KOs). Their previous bout in 2021 left fans clamoring for more, setting the stage for another intense showdown.

The former two-division world champion Nery destroyed Japanese star Shinsuke Yamanaka in lightning-fast knockouts in 2017 and 2018, and there were still some fans bitter about the way the Mexican southpaw blew away the former WBC 118-lb champ.

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.

It’s believed that Monster Inoue’s decision to stay at 122 for this fight is to avenge the loss of Yamanaka. If Inoue wins, he’s expected to move up to 126 and look to capture the four titles in that weight class to become undisputed champion.

Inoue: A Reign of Domination

Inoue looked outstanding, defeating IBF & WBA super bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (37-4, 19 KOs) in a tenth round knockout on Tuesday night to win the undisputed 122-lb championship at the at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

In the tenth, Inoue landed two solid rights to the head of Tapales, who backed up and went down in a delayed reaction. The fight was then stopped.

This was a harder fight than was expected for the 30-year-old Naoya, as Tapales easily took his best shots, which didn’t look as powerful as some of the other fighters in the 122-lb division.

The fight showed that Inoue’s punches don’t carry the same power on them as they had in the other three weight classes he’s fought in. That might be why Inoue has chosen to stay put for now at 122 rather than move up to 126 and mix it up with the champions in that weight class.

The win keeps Naoya ranked high on the pound-for-pound list, but he’s going to need to do more to establish that he deserves to be rated about Terence Crawford because many Americans aren’t impressed with the level of his opposition during his career.

Nery: A Controversial Contender

The southpaw Nery has power and credentials as a former two-division world champion to be deserving of a title shot against Inoue.

Fans take issue with this choice because of Nery’s positive test for the banned chemical substance Zilpaterol following his victory over former WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka in 2017.

Nery destroyed the aging 39-year-old Yamanaka, stopping him in the fourth round. Afterward, Nery tested positive for Zilpaterol.

A year later, Nery stopped Yamanaka by a second round knockout, but he was three lbs over the limit for that fight and was criticized. It didn’t matter. Nery would have beaten Yamanaka even if he’d made weight, as he was the younger, stronger, and better fighter.

A spicy showdown

Nery has the power, speed, and size to end Inoue’s title reign in May. Inoue is an excellent fighter, but his opposition has been nothing special as he’s moved around weight classes.

38-year-old Nonito Donaire had Inoue hurt, and showed that he’s not as fans think he is. David Carmona gave Inoue fits, and had him looking angry at not being able to knock him out.

Nery could be the one that defeats the Monster and brings him down to earth. At that point, it might be a good idea for Inoue to forget about a rematch, and focus on returning to 118, where they don’t hit as hard.

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