There will be a "Monster" on the loose in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament this fall.
Japanese star Naoya Inoue, known as "The Monster," was formally announced as the latest fighter to enter the deep field on Wednesday. Inoue has won world titles in three weight classes -- junior flyweight, junior bantamweight and bantamweight -- and is considered by most to be one of the best fighters in the world, pound-for-pound. It is something of a coup for tournament organizers to lure him into the field.
"We are thrilled to have Inoue on board for season two's amazing bantamweight tournament," said promoter Kalle Sauerland, the chief boxing officer of tournament organizer Comosa AG. "His stage name, 'The Monster,' has proved fitting. Inoue is an extremely exciting fighter and possesses absolutely extraordinary power. Inoue has become one of the biggest idols in his native Japan and now gets the chance to showcase his skills in the (Muhammad) Ali Trophy tournament, the greatest stage of all."
Inoue (16-0, 14 KOs), 25, won a junior flyweight world title in his sixth fight in 2014 and then won a second world title at junior bantamweight in his eighth fight later that year. He defended his junior bantamweight belt seven times before vacating it earlier this year to move up in weight again for a shot at secondary bantamweight titlist Jamie McDonnell on May 25 in Tokyo. Inoue crushed McDonnell, knocking him out in the first round in perhaps the most impressive performance of his career.
After the fight, Inoue said he planned to enter the World Boxing Super Series but it took some time for the deal to be finalized. Now that it's done, Inoue is looking forward to the tournament that will he enter as the likely favorite.
"It is an honor to be able to participate and compete in such a great tournament," Inoue said. "Of course, I will win and as the winner of the tournament, I will continue onto the next journey of my boxing career."
Inoue is the seventh fighter to join the field, which also will include world titleholders Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KOs), 26, of Northern Ireland, Zolani Tete (27-3, 21 KOs), a 30-year-old southpaw from South Africa and Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs), 25, of Puerto Rico, and former four-division titleholder Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs), 35, a Philippines native fighting out of Las Vegas, Australia's Jason Moloney (17-0, 14 KOs), 27, who is Rodriguez's mandatory challenger, and former world titleholder Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9 KOs), 34, of the Dominican Republic.
There will be three weight classes in the second season of tournaments: bantamweight, junior welterweight and a third division that has not yet been announced.