Exclusive: Ra’eese Aleem Wants Inoue, Fulton or Nery Next!

When you talk about super bantamweights you should talk about Ra’eese Aleem, who is currently ranked #2 by the WBO, #4 by the IBF, and #5 by the WBC. Though the super bantamweight division is heavy at the top, it is rather weak at the bottom and maybe even the middle, as the marquee bouts have been hard to come by for Aleem.

Though the division is home to great fighters such as Stephen Fulton Jr., Naoya Inoue and Luis Nery, Aleem for some reason has found himself outside the revolving door of the top-talent in the division. In 2022, Aleem only fought once against Mike Plania on an undercard FS1 televised bout before the pay-per-view portion of Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Luis Ortiz, in September of 2022. 

“[I mean] for real, I am ready, I have been calling for [all the big fights, and I don’t know when it is coming or if I have to move up to [featherweight] to get my opportunity,” said Aleem in an exclusive with this reporter. “The champs don’t want to fight me, because it is high-risk, low-reward, and like you said, I am on an island - it’s hard, but I am staying in the gym, and I am trying to stay focused."

Aleem won the WBA interim super bantamweight world title, when he had a career-defining performance defeating Vic Pasillas. A few months later the outcome of Myke Fox and Gabriel Maestre would see the WBA consolidate titles, as Aleem would no longer have a form of a world title, nor leverage in the division. This has led to Aleem having to have a lot of tough conversations with himself, finding inner strength in order to achieve his goal

“A large part of [becoming a world champion] is the mental component,” said Aleem. “Having visions, understanding what you have to do, and what it takes to get there. [you have] A thousand other guys who want your spot, so you have to stay on top of your game, no matter what is going on in life, especially finically. That all plays a part.”

With one of the best fights of the year occurring in Aleem’s division, which was Luis Nery vs. Azat Hovhannisyan taking place this past weekend, and one of the most anticipated bouts of the year being a unification bout between census #1 rated world champion in the super bantamweight division Stephen Fulton Jr., versus “The Monster” Naoya Inoue. It seems as though Aleem’s positive mindset, might also be a successful one, as it is more a matter of when the big fight comes rather, than if.

“I am just staying focused, and I am staying ready - I know I have said it, before I just need to emphasize my time is coming and I need to be prepared for when it comes,” said Aleem. “I want all of the top guys at 122 lbs., Inoue, Nery, Fulton, any of them. I am willing and able to fight as soon as now.”