Guillermo Rigondeaux Wants Naoya Inoue: “Lets Go Monster Hunting”
By: Hans Themistode
Two seems to be the favorite number of current WBA “Regular” Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Back in 2004 he took home the gold medal in the Olympic Games, in Athens Greece. Four years later, he followed that up with another gold winning effort. This time, in Beijing China.
Since turning pro, his success hasn’t slowed down in the slightest. He defeated Ricardo Ramos for the WBA Super Bantamweight world title in 2008 and made several defenses of his aforementioned title. Fast forward eight years later, and Rigondeaux found himself as a world champion once again.
On February 8th, at the PPL Center in Allentown Pennsylvania, the now 39 year old Rigondeaux made it look easy in defeating fellow former champion Liborio Solis for the vacant WBA “Regular” title.
There’s a theme building here. Rigondeaux has two gold medals in his possession and he is now a two weight world champion. He now has his eyes set on claiming something else for the second time.
In 2013, Rigondeaux received the chance to face off with sure fire hall of famer Nonito Donaire. At the time, Donaire was considered a top three pound for pound level fighter. The chances of Rigondeaux pulling off the upset were infinitesimal at best. Just chalk it up as another win under the belt of Donaire is what most observers believed. That narrative was quickly put to bed as Rigondeaux cruised to an easy unanimous decision victory on the night.
Rigondeaux was considered the monster in the division. The man no one truly wanted to step inside of the ring against. Now however, that distinction has been stripped and given to another fighter.
Naoya “Monster” Inoue.
When you peel away the bright smile and the unassuming look on the face of Inoue, you will quickly see why he is considered a “monster”.
With just 19 fights under his belt, Inoue has beaten several world champions. He defeated a loaded field during the World Boxing Super Series tournament, and now, he currently has a date with fellow titlist John Riel Casimero with the opportunity to grab the WBO belt to add to his already overflowing collection that includes the WBA and IBF hardware.
Not many are fully interested in facing off with Inoue but not only is Rigondeaux interested, he is chasing down the fight now that he is in his natural weight class.
“He’s an excellent fighter, great fighter. Warrior,” said Rigondeaux on how he views Inoue as a fighter. “But now I’m in my weight, before I was fighting guys bigger than me. Now I’m in my weight, let’s go ‘Monster’ hunting.”
The former two time olympic gold medalist has always been confident in his abilities, so his willingness to chase down Inoue isn’t entirely surprising. As for how he expects a contest to go between the two, Rigondeaux anticipates a chess match.
“Once you start, people start adjusting. He’s got a lot of things that I do too, he’s a well rounded boxer, so we’re both gonna make incredible adjustments when that fight comes.”
As previously mentioned, Rigondeaux seems to be enamored with the number two.
A win over Inoue would present him with the second win of his career over a pound for pound level fighter, which would fit perfectly next to his two gold medals and two championship titles in the Bantamweight division and Super Bantamweight division.
It would be a major cap in what has already been a fantastic career for Rigondeaux. But the question is, when the time comes, will he be able to pull it off?
A Monster Invades The U.S. in 2020
By: Hans Themistode
A monster is a creature that is terrifying and frightening. Often times they are referred to as imaginary as well. It’s because what they are capable of doing reaches far beyond the limits of a normal human being.
In the case of unified Super Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs), he has truly lived up to his moniker.
The 26 year old Japanese fighter has been nothing short of spectacular in his short career. In his first ten career contest, eight of them failed to go the distance. He continued his impressive performances with stoppage wins over Yoan Boyeaux and Jamie McDonnell.
Still, with as dominant as he had been, it was difficult to fully buy into the hype.
Thankfully for us all, we were given the opportunity to discover just how talented Inoue truly is.
A new trend in boxing has popped up as of late. The World Boxing Super Series (WBSS). It has given fighters across various weight divisions the opportunity to prove their worth by staging a year long tournament, with normally the best fighters that the chosen division has to offer.
Inoue was given the platform to perform in front of the world, and he did not disappoint. He destroyed his first two opponents in the opening rounds, winning by quick stoppages. His final foe however, would provide a much more difficult test.
For the first time in nearly four years, Inoue was forced to go to the distance as future hall of famer, Nonito Donaire gave him the fight of his life.
Following his victory over the aforementioned Donaire, Inoue immediately inked a multi year deal with Top Rank and is scheduled to fight in the U.S. in 2020.
“Naoya Inoue is a generational talent, the sort of fighter who comes around once a decade,” said promoter Bob Arum. “He is already a superstar in Japan, and he will be major star stateside in no time. You are looking at an all-time great who is entering the prime of what will be a historic career.”
Inoue, who is already a three division world champion, will now look to take his career to the next level.
“It is a tremendous honor to sign with Top Rank and to showcase my talents on ESPN,” Inoue said. “I look forward to 2020. I’ve fought in America once before, and I look forward to doing so again in the very near future.”
With Inoue successfully winning the Muhammad Ali trophy, he will surely have his eyes set on big fights. He could very well move down in weight to take on current WBC Super Flyweight title holder Juan Francisco Estrada or IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas in what would be terrific contests. A possible move to the Jr Featherweight division would be an intriguing move as the WBO titlist Emanuel Navarrete could be awaiting him.
One option that could be the best of them all, is a future showdown with multiple division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.
“Lomachenko I think would go down to 126 a year from now to fight Inoue a year from now,” said Bob Arum a few months back in regards to a possible showdown between the two. “That is a great fight.”
At this point, it is just speculation. Who knows if a possible showdown between these two pound for pound fighters will actually take place.
One thing that isn’t speculation however, is that Inoue will be making his way to the U.S. market. Fighters should be wary of his move. He is a truly great fighter that is looking to take on the best possible opposition out there.
The monster will indeed, invade the U.S. in 2020.