WBA and IBF bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue is number three in the current pound-for-pound list in boxing, but he has the chance to improve on that position when he faces Aran Dipaen in December.
Inoue currently sits behind only Canelo Alvarez and Oleksandr Usyk. The unbeaten star of the bantamweight division has spent 205 weeks inside the top 10 and another big performance will do his reputation no harm at all.
The Monster, as he is nicknamed, will be keeping a close eye on Alvarez and Caleb Plant contest prior to his next appearance in the ring. The pound-for-pound number one is the long odds-on favourite in the Canelo vs Planet boxing odds for that fight; however, the IBF champion is set to be a stern test for the Mexican.
Unlike Alvarez, Inoue has many more years left in boxing. He is 28 years old now and will have lots of goals left to achieve in the sport before he hangs up his gloves.
Three-Weight Champion Has Been Flawless
Inoue is unbeaten since turning professional in 2012. He has won all 21 of his fights in the ring, stopping 18 of those opponents. The Japanese boxer is known for having huge power for his size, as he showed in his last appearance in the ring. He stopped Philippine’s Michael Dasmarinas in the third round of their contest to retain his titles.
Over the last three years, Inoue has had first-round wins against Juan Carlos Payano and Jamie McDonnell. He also defeated Emmanuel Rodriguez in the second round as his power proved too much for the Puerto Rican.
The biggest test the Monster has faced over the last couple of years came against Nonito Donaire in their unification contest for all four major bantamweight crowns. He was taken the distance by his rival but was given the unanimous decision by the judges. Inoue proved he was not just a big hitter and that he could outclass a strong opponent over 12 rounds.
Could Inoue Win a World Title at Fourth Weight?
One target Inoue may have in the future is to win a world title at a fourth different weight group. This would put him alongside some greats who have achieved that feat in the sport. It would also strengthen his case for being the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
Inoue first won the world crown in 2014. He claimed the WBC light flyweight title with victory over Adrian Hernandez. Later that year he stepped up to super flyweight, defeating Omar Navarez for the WBO title in the division.
The Monster had seven defences of his super flyweight title before moving up to bantamweight. He won the WBA (regular) belt with a first-round stoppage over Jamie McDonnell. He has stayed at weight since that victory in 2018.
Inoue will be looking forward to his next assignment against Dipaen as it will be a homecoming for the champion. It will be his first appearance in Tokyo since 2018. Barring a big upset, he should extend his record to 22-0.