Unified super-bantamweight world champion Naoya Inoue (25-0, 22KOs) has indicated that he has a date sealed for December to challenge Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19KOs) and contest the undisputed super-bantamweight title.
The post, which was posted on the platform formally known as Twitter, showed Inoue training and sparring. The tweet posted by Inoue stated, “It’s about time to start sparring in earnest and get ready for December!”
The tweet also suggests that he may have agreed to face Tapales for the undisputed championship against his divisional rival Tapales. This is indicated by Inoue using four crown emojis, which may represent the four respective titles that one must hold to be declared the undisputed champion in the four-belt era.
そろそろ本格的にスパーリングも開始して12月に向けて整えますか！！— 井上尚弥 Naoya Inoue (@naoyainoue_410) September 5, 2023
The four-weight world champion and former undisputed champion at bantamweight arguably produced the performance of his career against Stephen Fulton on July 25 in Tokyo. Inoue, who was making his debut in the 122lbs weight class, claimed a clinical stoppage inside eight rounds, scoring two knockdowns in the round, which forced referee Hector Afu to wave off the contest after 1:14 of the round. Victory saw Inoue become the WBC & WBO world super-bantamweight world champion.
Tapales was present to witness Inoue defeat Fulton and was presented to Inoue in the ring for photos while each fighter held their respective belts.
“I want to fight Naoya Inoue because I want to prove that I am a champion,” Tapales declared at the time in Tokyo following Inoue’s victory. Inoue himself was eager to challenge Tapales and become a two-time undisputed champion inside a calendar year by saying, “Let’s do it this year!”
Tapales, who holds both the IBF & WBA world titles, became a unified champion in his own right with an upset victory over Murodjon Akhmadaliev in April on points.