What comes next for Naoya Inoue?

Inoue (27-0, 24 KOs), one of the very best in the world, had to rise from the canvas against Luis Nery (35-2, 27 KOs) to secure an emphatic sixth-round victory over his mandatory challenger. 

Referee Michael Griffin halted the contest while Nery was on the canvas following a heavy right hand from Inoue.

However, speculation has begun on who the four-weight world champion will face moving forward.

Post-fight, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum discussed the possibility of Inoue facing his IBF mandatory challenger, Sam Goodman, with a date targeted for September or October.

More wild speculation has come from none other than trainer Virgil Hunter, who discussed the prospect of a possible fight between Inoue and Gervonta Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) on FightHype.

Despite the discrepancies in weight between junior featherweight champion Inoue and lightweight champion Davis, Hunter believes a catchweight contest would not be needed for a hypothetical fight between two of boxing’s most prominent names.

“I don’t think Gervonta [Davis] should go below 135,” Hunter told Fighthype. “I’m sure Inoue walks around at ’40, ’45 – 145. [Inoue would] have to come up just like everybody else. Where is the value of [Davis] coming to a catchweight to fight you? You’re big in Japan, and I’m big in the States. So there should not be any weight concession. ‘If you want to fight, come and fight me.’”

Hunter used the examples of Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jermell Charlo, fighters who stepped up in weight to challenge Vasiliy Lomachenko and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, respectively, in recent years. Ultimately, Hunter thinks the weight difference between Inoue and Davis should not be used as an excuse for the fight not to happen.

“Let’s not make any excuses,” Hunter said. “Rigondeaux fought Lomachenko; there was no catchweight involved. He dared to take that opportunity.”

“[Rigondeaux] came up short, but he dared to take it. Charlo dared to fight Canelo at 168, coming from 154. So it’s only a few pounds north. You’re getting a little older. I’m sure you could carry the weight comfortably. So I wouldn’t make any concessions for that fight.”

Read the full article here