Naoya Inoue Ordered to Defend Title Against Murodjon Akhmadaliev

Naoya Inoue Ordered to Defend Title Against Murodjon Akhmadaliev

Naoya Inoue, the reigning super bantamweight champion, has been directed by the WBA to defend his title against mandatory challenger Murodjon Akhmadaliev. There is a deadline of July 30th for the two fighters to reach an agreement before a purse bid is called, and they must fight by September 25th.

With no worthy opponents left in the 122-pound division, it seems logical for Inoue to consider moving up in weight. Some fans speculate that his reluctance to move up to 126 could be due to fears of losing to stronger opponents and damaging his reputation in Japan.

Staying at the current weight class to face Akhmadaliev doesn’t seem beneficial for Inoue as it may not attract much interest from US fans. To boost his profile and viewership, Inoue should consider taking on fighters like Gervonta Davis, Vasily Lomachenko, and Shakur Stevenson in the US.

Inoue, with an unbeaten record of 27-0 and 24 knockouts, faces a decision on whether to defend his title or vacate it. Additionally, he has his IBF mandatory defense lined up against Sam Goodman, who is not considered a heavy hitter.

A strategic move for Inoue could be to relinquish his super bantamweight titles and move up to the featherweight division. This would offer him the opportunity to face a higher caliber of opponents that the boxing community is eager to see him against.

In a potential mega-fight, Inoue has the ability to move up to the lightweight division and challenge Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis for his WBA ‘regular’ lightweight title, setting up a lucrative pay-per-view spectacle between the two stars.

Akhmadaliev, the former super bantamweight champion, lost his titles to Marlon Tapales in 2023 but rebounded with a victory over Kevin Gonzalez. Critics argue that Inoue’s resume lacks high-profile wins, with Nonito Donaire being the only notable name he has faced.

As Inoue contemplates his next move, eyes are on the possibility of him facing Davis in a blockbuster bout that could capture the attention of the boxing world.

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