Luis ‘Pantera’ Nery will be challenging the undisputed super bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue for his championship in May in Tokyo, Japan.
Mike Coppinger has confirmed that Nery (35-1, 27 KOs) and Naoya have agreed to a deal to meet in May. The lifetime suspension that the Japan Boxing Commission handed down to Nery six years ago will reportedly be lifted.
Nery had missed weight for his second-round destruction of former WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka in May 2018 in Tokyo.
Inoue will have the chance to avenge Yamanaka’s defeat by beating the southpaw Nery. There’s a possibility that Nery can win, as he’s an explosive puncher, and Inoue is clearly not the same fighter he was when he was fighting at 118, 115, 112, and 108.
The power that Monster Inoue had in those weight divisions isn’t the same at 122. He looked uncomfortable taking the heavy shots from his last opponent, IBF & WBA super bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales, in their undisputed championship fight on December 26th.
Inoue took more shots than he had in years since his first fight against Nonito Donaire. Nery is a better puncher than Tapales and a lot more explosive. He’s one punch at a time type of fighter like Tapales, so he could do some damage.
Nery has looked good in winning his last four fights after being knocked out by Brandon Figueroa in 2021. He’s stopped his last three opponents, beating Azat Hovhannisyan, David Carmona, and Froilan Saludar.
If Inoue can get through this fight against Nery, he’s expected to defend against Murodjon Akhmadaliev and John Riel Casimero this year.
Those are decent options, but not as interesting as the tests that await Inoue if he dares go up to 126 to face Rey Vargas, Rafael Espinoza, Luis Lopez, Raymond Ford, or Otabek Kholmatov. Nery will take some punishment trying to beat those guys.
Naoya Inoue and Luis Nery have agreed to a deal for a May fight in Tokyo for Inoue’s undisputed junior featherweight championship, sources told ESPN. Nery is banned for life from fighting in Japan for missing weight and a doping violation, but it’s not expected to be an issue. pic.twitter.com/P7wgsBRhmC
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) January 9, 2024