Eddie Hearn the honcho of Matchroom Boxing and promoter of former undefeated IBF bantamweight champion and current WBA bantamweight titleholder Jamie McDonnell, has confirmed that talks are currently underway for Jamie to travel to Japan and face one of boxing’s brightest talents in the form of Naoya Inoue.
Eddie Hearn confirmed that talks were under-way between Doncaster’s McDonnell and Inoue to Sky Sports News, suggesting that a deal is close to being agreed for May in another contest which will see Jamie box on the road once again.
“Jamie originally planned to move up after the Liborio Solis fight but this is a huge fight and he loves the idea of the challenge,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“Inoue has looked devastating at super-fly and it’s a tough fight for Jamie, but he wants to test himself against the very best out there.
“I’m hoping we can close this week.”
Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1) is often regarded as the forgotten champion from the UK, losing his IBF world title in October of 2013 which he claimed against Julio Ceja in May of that year with a comprehensive points verdict. Jamie picked up his WBA “Regular” world title against Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat at Wembley Stadium, London as part of the supporting cast to Carl Froch’s grudge match with George Groves in front of 80,000 spectators. Jamie since capturing his second world title has often boxed on the road. Jamie, in theory, should have become a three-time world champion at bantamweight defeating then WBO titleholder Tomoki Kameda twice in 2015 in back to back contests. Kameda, however, decided to vacate his WBO title after the WBO refused to sanction the contest as an unification with Jamie holding the lesser “valued” title of the WBA. Jamie has since defended his title against Fernando Vargas and Liborio Solis twice with his previous two contests coming against Solis in Monte Carlo in 2016 & 2017 respectively.
Naoya Inoue himself is seen as one of the brightest talents in the world boxing, already a two-weight champion with 15 fights on the slate which include 13 stoppages. Inoue has made no bones about seeking new challenges in the bantamweight division following a successful title reign at super-flyweight. Inoue, before 2017 was out, was expected to feature on this month’s Superfly 2 card in California,however, had stated in the lead up to his last outing on December 30th that he will be moving up a weight class. Inoue as current WBO super-flyweight world champion could enforce his status as mandatory within the WBO ranks at 118lbs if he was to vacate his title and move up, putting him next in line after Omar Andres Narvaez to get a crack at current WBO titleholder Zolani Tete. With Inoue now set to face McDonnell it is precieved that if Inoue is successful in defeating McDonnell, that the WBA would enforce that winner would have to challenege the organisations “Super” world title holder currrently held by Ryan Burnett.