Bob Arum: ESPN Will Broadcast Masayuki Ito's First Title Defense

Less than a week after winning the WBO super featherweight title, Masayuki Ito is already being planned to defend his title before the year is over.

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum spoke to Bad Left Hook's Michael Woods and said he plans to have Ito defend his title at some point either in November or December. Arum said plans have not finalized, but said he will speak with Teiken Promotions Akihiko Honda soon to discuss where Ito's first title defense will take place. 

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Arum also added that ESPN will handle broadcast duties for Ito's next fight regardless of where it takes place. This would mean that if Ito were to defend his title in his native country of Japan, then the fight could be shown on ESPN+ as the streaming service has broadcast fights in Japan in the past.  

“This kid who has some English, has a personality that lights up a room,” Arum said. “(Promoter) Honda was telling me the kid could really fight, and he doesn’t exaggerate, and that was a helluva performance against a very, very good fighter. I will be flying to Japan for a press conference for Ryota Murata next week and will be talking to Honda about whether Ito’s first defense will be in the U.S. or Japan. Either way, ESPN will televise.”

Ito traveled outside of Japan for the first time in his career to face Christopher Diaz to fight for the vacant WBO super featherweight title previously held by Vasiliy Lomachenko. Thanks in part to a knockdown in the fourth round, Ito defeated Diaz by unanimous decision in a fight that was streamed on ESPN+ back in late July.

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