IBF featherweight world champion Luis Alberto Lopez expects Naoya Inoue to succeed in his expected but yet-to-be-announced undisputed super-bantamweight encounter with Marlon Tapales.
Inoue-Tapales is heavily slated to be held during mid-late December, keeping in tradition with Japanese boxing broadcasting championship boxing over the Christmas festive period.
Inoue, who is a recent addition to the super-bantamweight ranks, successfully defeated the previous unified world champion and arguably the number one rated super-bantam, Stephen Fulton, in July. Victory saw Inoue claim the WBO and WBC world titles in possibly the performance of the Japanese star’s career to date. Inoue would knockdown Fulton and claim a stoppage inside eight rounds in a clinical performance.
The Yokohama native, Inoue, has had a stellar twelve months in the sport, which has seen ‘the monster’ become undisputed champion last December in defeating Paul Butler to add the missing IBF crown to his the held WBC, WBO & WBA world bantamweight titles. Overall, Inoue has won world titles in four weight classes, allowing him to solidify his position in many respected pound-for-pound ratings.
Lopez, who himself was open to the idea of facing Inoue in the near future following the Mexican’s victory over Joet Gonzalez, believes Inoue-Tapales will be a competitive affair despite Inoue being the huge betting favourite to succeed and become a two-time undisputed champion inside a calendar year.
“It’s going to be a good fight. They are both very good fighters,” Lopez told BoxingScene.com “When Tapales did the stick and move vs MJ (Murodjon Akhmadaliev) it worked. Now, does MJ have Inoue’s power? I don’t think so. But definitely, I won’t miss this one.”
Inoue himself has taken to Instagram and revealed that he has already begun his preparations to return in December.
“One week of intense training has ended,” Inoue stated in a post, accompanied by a photo sporting a chiselled physique alongside his team members. “I had a good training session and am ready to switch on for December.”