Japan will be at the center of the boxing world with not only two world title fights taking place on May 25, but a World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament spot on the line.
Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue, who has won world titles in two weight classes, will aim to become the second-quickest pro boxer to win a world title in three divisions when he faces WBA “regular” bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell in Tokyo. Fans in the United States will get a good look at the Japanese star nicknamed “The Monster” with the recent announcement that Inoue vs. McDonnell will be shown live on the ESPN+ streaming platform, marking only the second time in his pro career that the United States will get to see Inoue.
Bantamweight supremacy isn’t the only goal for Inoue as he has already agreed to take part in the second season of the World Boxing Super Series on the condition that he defeats McDonnell. Entry into the tournament would not only further build up Inoue’s global popularity, but also give him the chance to win the eight-man tournament and become the first man in boxing history to hold three major bantamweight world titles at the same time.
McDonnell is one of boxing’s longest reigning champions today, having held the WBA title since 2014. After his last title defense, a rematch against Liborio Solis, ended in a no decision, it seemed like McDonnell would make the jump to super bantamweight. But after several months of waiting, Solis would receive perhaps the biggest challenge of his career: a showdown against Inoue in Japan.
In the co-main event, WBC light flyweight world champion Ken Shiro will defend his title against Ganigan Lopez, the man Shiro narrowly defeated to win the title in just his 10th title. Lopez, Mexico’s top boxer in one of the sport’s lightest weight classes, has previously tasted defeat in a world title fight and has proven he can bounce back in a short amount of time to win a title.
Here is the main card (7:15 a.m. EST/ESPN+):
- Jamie McDonnell (c) vs. Naoya Inoue: WBA "Regular" Bantamweight Title Fight
- Ken Shiro (c) vs. Ganigan Lopez: WBC Light Flyweight Title FIght
Tale of the Tape:
- Record: 29-2-1 (13 KO)
- Age: 32
- Height: 5’10”
- Reach: 72”
- Notable Opponents: Tomoli Kameda, Liborio Solis, Fernando Vargas
- Titles Won: WBA “Regular” Bantamweight, IBF Bantamweight, EBU Bantamweight, BBBofC British Bantamweight, Commonwealth Bantamweight, BBBofC English Bantamweight titles
- Record: 15-0 (13 KO)
- Age: 25
- Height: 5’5”
- Reach: 66.5”
- Notable Opponents: David Carmona, Omar Narvaez, Kohei Kono
- Titles Won: WBO Super Flyweight, WBC Light Flyweight, OPBF Light Flyweight, Japanese Light Flyweight titles
Betting Guide (Provided By Paddy Power):
- Jamie McDonnell Win: 9/2
- Naoya Inoue Win: 1/8
- Fight Ends In A Draw: 25/1
- Jamie McDonnell Win By Decision: 13/2
- Jamie McDonnell Win By KO/TKO: 14/1
- Naoya Inoue Win By Decision: 10/3
- Naoya Inoue Win By KO/TKO: 1/2
- Fight Goes The Distance: 15/8
- Fight Does Not Go The Distance: 4/11
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