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Boxing | International

Naoya Inoue © Gallo Images

Inoue makes fifth defence of WBO belt

WBO junior-bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue makes the fifth defence of his belt when he takes on Los Angeles based Mexican Ricardo Rodriguez at the Ariake Colloseum in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Inoue (12-0; 10), known as 'the Monster', won the Japanese light-flyweight title in only his fourth fight with a 10-round points decision over Ryochi Taguchi (18-1-1), and in his fifth fight captured the vacant OPBF light-flyweight title with a fifth-round stoppage win over Jerson Mancio (18-3-3).

In his next fight in April 2014 he took the WBC light-flyweight belt with a sixth-round technical knockout win over Adrian Hernandez (29-2-1).

After making a successful defence of the WBC belt against Wittawas Basapan he moved up in weight and captured the WBO junior–bantamweight belt with a second knockout win over the vastly experienced Omar Andres Narvaez (43-1-2).

He then made successful defences of the belt against Warlito Parrinos, David Carmona, Karoon Jarupianlerd and Kohei Kono, all fighters with respectable records.

Rodriguez, 27, is the current WBO Latino junior-bantamweight champion and has a record of 16-3; 5 since making his pro debut in April 2011.

He has scored wins over four fighters who have held world titles and has victories over good fighters such as Jonathan Vidal, Miguel Cartegena, David Quijano and Carlos Narvaez.

The challenger lost his second fight and his other two losses have come against the capable David Carmona, both on points.

Although he has been in with some good fighters, this is a step up in class for Rodriguez and the odds are that Inoue will win inside the distance.


On the undercard, in what could be a good matchup, the IBF light-flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (25-5; 13) meets Milan Melindo (35-2; 13) the interim champion.

The 34-year-old Yaegashi is the more experienced fighter, having held WBA and WBC minimumweight belts, and the WBC light-flyweight and flyweight belts.

He won the IBF light-flyweight belt in December 2015 with a points victory over Javier Mendoza and will now be making his third defence.

The 29-year-old Melindo, from the Philippines, will be having his third crack at trying to win a world title, having lost to Juan Francisco Estrada for the WBA and WBO flyweight titles and to Javier Mendoza for the IBF light-flyweight title.


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