Naoya Inoue next fight: Gervonta Davis super bout eyed amid Wembley option

Sean McCormick
Naoya Inoue (L) and Gervonta Davis (R)

Naoya Inoue is quickly becoming one of boxing’s biggest superstars and he is arguably the number one pound for pound fighter in the world.

The Japanese sensation is already a four-weight world champion and is one of three fighters in the four belt era to become undisputed champion in two different weight divisions.

‘The Monster’ is a huge star in Japan but his appeal is widening, and he has already fought in the United States and the United Kingdom during his 27 fight career.

Inoue is unbeaten and boasts 24 knockout victories, with his power carrying through the weight divisions. He has been a world champion at light-flyweight, super-flyweight, bantamweight and now super-bantamweight.

In his last fight, the 31-year-old recovered from a first knockdown of his career to stop Luis Nery inside six rounds to retain his WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO super-bantamweight world titles.

His next step, though, is an interesting one, with Inoue having a number of lucrative options on the table. Dexerto Sport has rounded up the possibilities for his next move below.

Stay at super-bantamweight with two-fight plan

Inoue took just two fights and 18 rounds to unify all four world titles in the super-bantamweight division.

He relieved Stephen Fulton of his WBC and WBO world titles with an eighth round stoppage and then added Marlon Tapales’ WBA and IBF world titles with a 10th round knockout.

After defending all four belts in a dramatic fight with Nery in May 2024, Inoue has the choice to make another defense of his titles or move up in weight in search of a fifth world title.

If he fancies a fourth fight at 122 pounds, Australia’s Sam Goodman is mandatory challenger for two of his belts, while former unified world champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev and ex-world champion TJ Doheny are other options.

Top Rank, Inoue’s promoters, are keen for him to fight again twice this year, once in September in Tokyo and another fight in December

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum hinted that Doheny may get the fight in September and Goodman the fight in December, given the Aussie plans to have a stay-busy fight in Australia in July.

“The plan is for Inoue to fight again in Japan this September,” Arum said.

“And then depending on how everything breaks down from there, he would fight again at the end of the year, maybe in Riyadh. And both Sam Goodman and the Irish kid (Doheny) are great opponents.

“I had the opportunity to have a brief conversation with Sam this week in Tokyo and was very impressed with him and his demeanour. So whether he fights Inoue in September or December, I don’t know. But he certainly will be fighting Inoue this year.”

Move up to featherweight amid wildcard Wembley offer

Saudi Arabian’s emergence into the boxing scene has already seen a number of fighters earn big money for some mega fights, and the man behind it all, Turki Alalshikh, is keen to start promoting fights in the lower weight divisions.

His number one target to begin that journey is to get Inoue on his cards, and Japanese media claim Inoue’s next fight could be on the undercard of a proposed Anthony Joshua card at Wembley Stadium in September.

A move to featherweight and a challenge for a world title in a fifth weight division could well provide the perfect platform for that occasion.

Rev Vargas (WBC), Raymond Ford (WBA), Luis Alberto Lopez (IBF) and Rafael Espinoza (WBO) currently hold the world titles at 126 pounds and a case to fight all four fighters could easily be made.

If Inoue fights on an Alalshikh card, Vargas has defended his belt on a Joshua card before, while Ford is defending his belt against Nick Ball on a Saudi card in June.

Should Inoue fight under his current promoters, Top Rank, they also promote Lopez meaning a fight could easily be made between the two fighters.

And should Inoue inform the governing bodies he is moving up in weight, it is likely the WBO would make him the mandatory challenger for Espinoza’s belt.

In short, Inoue’s opportunities at featherweight are plentiful.

Naoya Inoue vs Gervonta Davis super fight

It is a fight that would set pulses racing, but Inoue would have to jump up three weight divisions to challenge WBA lightweight champion Gervonta Davis.

There is 13 pounds between the two divisions, but it is a dream fight between two pound for pound superstars that Saudi promoter, Alalshikh, has named as a bout he would like to make.

Speaking prior to Oleksandr Usyk’s win over Tyson Fury, Alalshikh said of a potential Inoue vs Davis matchup: “If they reach the right weight and give us the right proposal, we can deliver it.”

Davis battered Ryan Garcia in his last fight and is in search of a big fight after his title defense in June against Frank Martin.

While the likes of Garcia, Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Shakur Stevenson are options around his weight, a fight with Inoue would certainly generate a lot of intrigue.

For all the biggest results and upcoming fights this year, check out Dexerto’s 2024 boxing schedule.