Strictly Business Boxing
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May 6: Naoya Inoue vs Luis Nery

Undisputed Jr. Featherweight Showdown

Set For Tokyo Dome Showdown!

(March 6th) 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 6th 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.

 

Venue: Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan

Promoter: Bob Arum - Top Rank, Akihiko Honda - Teiken Promotions, Hideyuki Ohashi - Ohashi Promotions

Media: ESPN+

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 ESPN.com 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!”

 

About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It reached 2 million subscribers in less than a year and offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

 

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHL games, exclusive UFC, Top Rank boxing and PFL fights and events, top domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredivisie, and more), thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and other sports), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.

 

ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App (on mobile and connected devices) and ESPN.com.

 

About ESPN

In the UK, ESPN operates a successful and growing business that includes a collection of leading sports websites and apps, an expanding sports content sales business, live and on-demand streaming service ESPN Player, and a long-term collaboration with BT Sport that includes BT Sport operating an ESPN-branded channel as part of its television business.

 

ESPN UK combines bespoke content from an experienced London-based team with the best writing on other sites in ESPN’s global digital portfolio, including ESPNcricinfo.com and ESPN FC. More than 100 staff from multiple locations contribute to ESPN UK’s coverage across football, rugby, cricket, tennis, boxing and golf, offering both a local and global view.

 

ESPN’s UK business is part of ESPN International, a division of ESPN, Inc., which has grown to include ownership — in whole or in part — of 26 television networks outside of the United States, as well as a variety of additional businesses that allow ESPN to reach sports fans in more than 60 countries and territories across all seven continents. Since 1983, ESPN (founded in Bristol, Connecticut, in 1979) has grown around the world, establishing itself as the leading global sports media brand – ESPN.com is one of the world’s leading sports websites. The company’s philosophy to global growth is to always serve sports fans and be locally relevant to them, with content and products that tap into their great passion and dedication. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

 

About Top Rank

Innovation has been the standard at Top Rank since it was established in 1966 by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. The boxing industry’s leading promotional company, Top Rank has shaped, developed, and promoted the careers of top international pay-per-view superstars and Hall of Famers, including Muhammad Ali, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Erik Morales, Terence Crawford, and Vasiliy Lomachenko.

 

Top Rank has promoted some of the most memorable fights in the sport’s history, including 26 Ali events, Leonard vs. Hearns, Pryor vs. Arguello, Duran vs. Leonard, Hagler vs. Hearns, Leonard vs. Hagler, Foreman vs. Holyfield, Morales vs. Barrera, De La Hoya vs. Trinidad, and the most lucrative fight in boxing history, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. In addition to the previously mentioned super fights, Top Rank possesses one of the largest sports libraries, which includes nearly 10,000 fights.

 

Known for creating strategic collaborations between athletes, sponsors, and television networks, Top Rank has been an architect of boxing’s global growth by staging high-profile events in landmark settings around the world, including Madison Square Garden, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Staples Center, Wembley Arena, Araneta Coliseum, The Venetian Macao, Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, The “Fabulous” Forum, and AT&T Stadium. Top Rank has also been the leader within the boxing industry in creating unforgettable in-arena experiences for fans and embracing 21st century technological advancements to distribute world-class fights and shoulder programming across a variety of platforms.

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