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Naoya Inoue Reportedly Set To Face Paul Butler In December For Undisputed Bantamweight Championship

Posted on 08/25/2022

By: Sean Crose

Canelo Alvarez. Jermell Charlo. Devin Haney. What do these three men have in common? They’re all undisputed champions in their respective divisions. Canelo owns the super middleweight realm, Charlo the junior middleweight and Haney the lightweight. Undisputed champions are highly regarded not just for their accomplishments, but for the clarity they bring to the often confusing world of contemporary boxing. Ask someone on the street who the heavyweight champion of the world is and you probably couldn’t get an answer – because there arguably is no answer. There’s two titlists, Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, but no supreme champion. Ask fans who the super middleweight, junior middleweight and junior welterweight champions are, however, and you’ll be able to get three clear and inarguable answers.

Again, undisputed champions are good for boxing. That’s why word of WBC, IBF and WBA bantamweight titlist Naoya Inoue likely squaring off against WBO bantamweight titlist Paul Butler this December would be welcome news for fight fans. Although that particular match hasn’t been signed yet, Mike Coppinger of ESPN reports both parties have agreed to a December 13th undisputed matchup in Japan, which, if true, makes the hoped for bout all but a reality.

Inoue needs no introduction for fight fans. The 29 year old, known as “The Monster” has been blasting through opponents since his professional career began in the autumn of 2012. Here is a man who isn’t just successful in the ring, but is also outright destructive. Only 3 of Inoue’s 23 opponents have lasted until the final bell. Inoue’s last fight was an utter destruction of likely Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire in a June rematch of their exciting 2019 battle. To say Inoue would be favored to best Butler, in Inoue’s native Japan for that matter, might be something of an understatement.

Butler, however, shouldn’t be simply shrugged off. Gifted with the terrific nickname of “The Baby Faced Assassin,” the 33 year old Brit hasn’t lost a fight since 2018. And, although the WBO world title was given to him (he had been interim titlist at the time) after it stripped John Riel Casimero of the world title belt doesn’t mean Butler hasn’t worked for it. Indeed, Casimero reportedly lost the world title because he or his team wouldn’t face Butler, who had been Casimero’s mandatory. Now the 34-2 Butler is on the verge of receiving the chance of a lifetime. Defeating a Monster, however, will be no easy task.

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