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Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Official: Naoya Inoue vs Luis Nery, Tokyo Dome on May 6

TOKYO (March 5, 2024) — Japan’s pound-for-pound hero is set to headline the biggest boxing event his country has ever seen. Undisputed junior featherweight world champion Naoya “The Monster” Inoue will defend all the belts against Mexican puncher Luis “Pantera” Nery on Monday, May 6 at the Tokyo Dome.

Inoue, a four-weight world champion and two-weight undisputed king, will headline at the iconic venue for the first time.

Inoue-Nery and three additional world title showdowns will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ at 4 a.m. ET/1 a.m. PT. Australia’s WBO bantamweight world champion, Jason “Mayhem” Moloney will defend his belt against rising knockout artist and former kickboxing world champion Yoshiki Takei.

The world title quadruple-header also features WBA bantamweight world champion Takuma Inoue (19-1, 5 KOs), younger brother of Naoya, who defends his title against former world title challenger Sho Ishida (34-3, 17 KOs). And, in a flyweight world title tilt, newly minted WBA world champion Seigo Yuri Akui (19-2-1, 11 KOs) battles Taku Kuwahara (13-1, 8 KOs) in a rematch of their 2021 Japanese title bout, which Akui won by 10th-round TKO.

“Naoya Inoue is the world’s best fighter, a young man who amazes me every time he steps in the ring. Luis Nery is a tough challenger, but I fully expect Inoue to get the job done in front of more than 50,000 fans at the Tokyo Dome,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. “In addition to this incredible main event, we have a spectacular undercard highlighted by Jason Moloney, a road warrior who is coming to Japan determined to show he’s the world’s best bantamweight.”

The Tokyo Dome, which opened in March 1988, has a brief-but-storied boxing history. Four days after the venue’s grand opening, Mike Tyson defended the undisputed heavyweight championship with a second-round TKO over Tony Tubbs in front of 51,000 spectators. The last professional boxing event at “The Big Egg” took place in February 1990. In one of sport’s greatest upsets, James “Buster” Douglas knocked out Tyson in the 10th round to capture the undisputed crown.

Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs) won his first world title in April 2014 and has been flawless ever since. He sports an astounding 21-0 record in world title fights, including 19 knockouts. He became undisputed champion in two weight classes in 378 days, knocking out Paul Butler in December 2022 to become the bantamweight ruler and stopping Marlon Tapales last December to unify the junior featherweight division. Five months before the Tapales triumph, Inoue stopped the previously undefeated two-belt American champion, Stephen Fulton, in his junior featherweight debut. He was named 2023 Fighter of the Year by and Ring Magazine and makes his 2024 debut intent on solidifying his stranglehold over the division.

Nery (35-1, 27 KOs) is a former two weight world champion who won the WBC title at both bantamweight and junior featherweight. Nery lost his bantamweight title after missing weight for his 2018 rematch against Shinsuke Yamanaka, the man he dethroned for the belt the previous year. He won a decision over Aaron Alameda in 2020 to become a two-weight world champion. Nery’s unbeaten run ended the following year with a seventh-round stoppage loss to Brandon Figueroa in a title unification tilt. He has won four straight fights since the Figueroa setback, including a sensational 11th-round knockout over Azat Hovhannisyan last February in one of the year’s best fights.

Moloney (27-2, 19 KOs) won world title honors in his third attempt, turning back Filipino veteran Vincent Astrolabio by majority decision last May. He defended his WBO strap in January with a back-and-forth battle against Saul Sanchez in Quebec City, Canada. Moloney retained his title by majority decision and will travel to foreign soil once again. Takei (8-0, 8 KOs) is a southpaw who turned pro in March 2021 and quickly climbed the rankings. He last fought on the Inoue-Tapales undercard, knocking out Mario Diaz Maldonado in the second round. He went 23-2 with 16 knockouts as a kickboxer and held the K-1 Super Bantamweight Championship for nearly three years.

Moloney said, “I’ve always wanted to fight in Japan, and to do it on this huge show in front of a sold-out crowd at the Tokyo Dome is what dreams are made of. I want to be known as a throwback world champion. I won my title in America, defended it in Canada, and now I’m willing to go into enemy territory and defend my title in Japan against the undefeated Yoshiki Takei. I know the Japanese fans will enjoy this fight, and I look forward to making some new fans in Japan and all over the world. On May 6, I will show the world what the ‘Mayhem Era’ is all about!”

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