Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

Japanese Naoya Inoue poses for the photo at a press conference about her next fight against Briton Paul Butler in Yokohama on October 13, 2022. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

Japan’s Naoya Inoue announced on Thursday that she will fight England’s Paul Butler in December, when all four welterweight world titles are at stake.

Nicknamed “The Beast”, 29-year-old Inoue holds the WBC, WBA and IBF bantamweight belts and aims to become the undisputed world champion by taking Butler’s WBO title on December 13 in Tokyo.

“I want my name to go into international boxing history and change Japan’s boxing history,” the invincible star said at a press conference to announce the showdown.

“Paul Butler is an extremely versatile fighter with no obvious weak spots,” Inoue said.

“In a fight, I want to gradually weaken him with my boxing before I knock him down.

“I’m going to show the overwhelming power gap between us and unite the four organizations.”

A victory would make Inoue the first undisputed world champion to come from Asia and only his ninth since a four-generation era that began in 2004.

Earlier this year, Inoue became the first Japanese fighter to top Ring Magazine’s prestigious pound-to-pound rankings as best fighter in all weight divisions, before falling to second place behind heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

Inoue reiterated his goal of going from lightweight (118lb, 53.5kg) to super lightweight (122lb, 55kg) after reconnecting the belts. He previously said that he would retire at the age of 35.

“I always said I wanted to fight to unify four championship belts. This will be the last chapter of my bantamweight career and the beginning of super bantamweight,” Inoue said.

“That’s not the point. This is just a waypoint. I’m still trying to aim higher. This will be a challenge for me to take my career to a higher level.”


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