This Friday, May 25th, at the Ota City General Gynasium in Tokyo, Japan, World Boxing Association (WBA) World Bantamweight Champion Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1, 13KO’s) is set to defend his title against Naoya Inoue (15-0, 13KO’s). The bout will be aired on ESPN+, the new streaming service by the sports giant that costs $5 per month and gives you bouts not aired on their regular network.
McDonnell will be making the seventh defense of his title after winning the vacant title in a bout against Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat in May of 2014. Since then, McDonnell has successfully defended the title against top notch opposition such as Tomoki Kameda, Fernando Vargas, and Liborio Solis.
The Champion McDonnell firmly believes that he is being underestimated, telling the media, “Inoue has not fought anyone like me yet, there is a big gap in boxing ability that he has not seen yet.”
McDonnell will be traveling to his opponent’s home turf for the bout but still is not daunted by the task ahead of him, telling Sky Sports “I came to Japan to prove that I am a strong world champion. I am very excited and motivated with this fight against Naoya Inoue. I am convinced that I am the best bantamweight in the world.”
McDonnell is no stranger to traveling with the WBA title belt, having fought four of his six title defenses outside of his native United Kingdom. He is a tested veteran at the weight class while his opponent is stepping up to bantamweight for the first time in his career.
Naoya Inoue, nicknamed “The Monster”, is coming into the fight already considered as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world despite only having fought professionally 15 times. Inoue looks like the goods, and has not had any trouble with his opposition, but does indeed have to prove himself at a slightly higher level against McDonnell in order to take the WBA title.