Inoue resisting riches to remain at super bantamweight for coming three fights

Naoya Inoue plans to remain at super bantamweight throughout 2024 and will resist the temptation to move up in weight solely for financial gain.

He next fights Luis Nery, 29 and from Mexico, in Tokyo on May 6, in what he hopes will be the first of three fights in 2024, and after so successful a 2023, in which he stopped Stephen Fulton Jr and Marlon Tapales, he will consider a future move to featherweight. 

“I’m planning on fighting three times this year [May, September and December],” the undisputed super bantamweight champion, 30, told The Ring. “I’m sure these three fights will take place at super bantamweight. My move up to featherweight will depend on how I and my body feel next year.

“I always want to show the best Naoya Inoue. I wouldn’t decide to start fighting at featherweight or super featherweight just because the money is good.

“I don’t think that’s what I want. Many fighters chased the money but did not perform well and quit. The reason I box is not for the money; I do this to show my best self. It’s also true that I’m motivated by fighting strong opponents, but there are weight divisions in boxing for a reason.”

Inoue is co-promoted by Top Rank and Ohashi Promotions. He wants to again fight in the US to continue to enhance his profile, but contradicted himself by recognising that his home country of Japan is where he is likely to be most handsomely paid.. 

“I always wanted to fight in the US, and yes, I definitely want to fight there again,” he said. “However, Japan is now becoming a big market, too.

“The reason behind wanting to capture the ‘American Dream’ is that if you accomplish something in the US, name recognition and big money will follow. But, nowadays, in this streaming era, if you are successful in Japan, you can make millions even in the lighter weight divisions. That’s why [Stephen] Fulton came to Japan, and the big fights are easier to make in Japan.”