Inoue and Moloney set for title fight in Las Vegas

The three weight world champion has been waiting to make his debut in the “Sin City” for a while.

Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) was scheduled to be in Las Vegas in April for a unification bout against WBO champion John Riel Casimero but the COVID-19 pandemic left the Japanese sensation on the shelf for a little while longer. Now he is set to face Jason Maloney (21-1, 18 KOs), a world title challenger who was part of the World Boxing Super Series that Inoue ended up winning. Maloney lost a close decision to Emmanuel Rodriguez in October 2018, who Inoue knocked out in two rounds last May. After a four fight winning streak, Maloney feels like this is his time to become a world champion.

“I think that everything happens for a reason, and that loss that I suffered against {Emmanuel} Rodriguez showed me how much I want this,” Maloney said at the press conference. “I’m never gonna let a loss happen to me again. On Saturday night, nothing will stop me from winning this fight, and achieving the dream of becoming the best bantamweight in the world.”

Maloney’s last bout was in the same venue that he will fight Inoue on Saturday, which was a 7th round stoppage win over Leonardo Baez to put him in this position to fight the unified champion. While he is a sizeable underdog, Maloney’s confidence is very high against Inoue.

“I know I can win this fight. I don’t care if some people think that I can’t win this fight. I believe, and I know that I can win it.”

The last time that we saw Inoue in the ring, it was against Nonito Donaire for the World Boxing Super Series championship last November. It became the 2019 Fight Of The Year as Inoue battled his way to a unanimous decision against “The Filipino Flash”. Naoya suffered an eye injury during that bout and he went through a recovery phase over the next few months before getting himself prepared for his bout against Maloney. He thinks that he is in good shape going into Saturday.

“This past year, my injuries have healed very well,” Inoue said. “With COVID-19, it has been tough training, but it has been the same for everyone else. We still have to go out there and perform at a high level.”

Since winning the WBC light flyweight title in his sixth pro fight, Inoue has had title reigns in the super flyweight and bantamweight divisions. That has given him a lot of attention within boxing circles and has him ranked high in pound for pound lists. Inoue is well aware of those lofty expectations, and wants to prove that he is worthy of them.

“There are a lot of expectations, and I want to meet those expectations. I take those big expectations, and I use them as motivation and power to keep getting better with every fight.”

Cover photo by Mikey Williams

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