Takuma Inoue had been all set to challenge Marlon Tapales for the WBO bantamweight title last December. However, on November 9, he fractured his right hand, curtailing those plans.
Inoue (8-0, 2 knockouts) needed surgery and was unable to use his hand until April. Today, “THE RING Magazine Prospect of 2015” bids to put his near-yearlong absence behind him when he faces battle-tested Hiroyuki Hisataka over 10 rounds at the famous Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan.
Despite the injury-enforced layoff, Inoue is confident he’ll show no signs of ring rust.
“I have not experienced such a long absence in my pro career,” Inoue told RingTV.com through Tomoyuki Kataoka. “However, I am not worried about my current condition, since I have sparred many times.”
The 21-year-old is keen to follow in the footsteps of big brother and WBO junior bantamweight titlist Naoya and knows Hisataka will be a solid test upon his return.
“He is a tough opponent,” said Inoue. “However, for this reason, I am looking forward to fighting very well against him.”
Hisataka is a 15-year veteran, who sports a less than stellar (25-16-1, 11 KOs) resume. He is tough and usually goes the distance, having been stopped just twice in 42 contests. The 32-year-old warhorse has unsuccessfully challenged four times for world titles and should be a good barometer as to where Inoue is at this point in his career.
Inoue has been in Yokohama and had taken part in four training camps to prepare himself before his return. He has trained with his brother and engaged in countless sparring sessions with other members of his stable to help regain his sharpness. After this fight, he will travel to Los Angeles to cheer on his elder sibling.
Former WBA and WBC strawweight titlist Hideyuki Ohashi, head of Ohashi Promotions, which manages Inoue, is focused solely on the Hisataka fight but has high hopes going forward.
“He has performed wonderfully during the training for this bout,” said Ohashi. “If he is able to win this bout in good manner, I would like to prepare a bout for a world title for him within 2018.”
Inoue is currently world-ranked at junior bantamweight by the WBC (No. 9), WBA (10) and IBF (No. 15). However, Mr. Ohashi stresses that his fighter has outgrown that division and is now a full-fledged 118-pounder.
As well as Inoue-Hisataka, Ohashi Promotions will also see several of their prospects in action, including Ryo Mastumoto, Naoya and Takuma’s cousin Koki and seasoned campaigner Go Onaga, while touted Kazuki Nakajima will compete in his second professional bout and Katsuya Yasuda will make his debut.
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing