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Mike Tyson’s ‘Best Boxer in the World’ Might Never Fight in America Because of Surprising Reason

Published 04/13/2024, 11:54 AM EDT

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Naoya Inoue is set to defend his undisputed titles against Luis Nery in front of a Japanese crowd in May. This will be his sixth consecutive fight in Japan after his thumping KO victory over Michael Dasmariñas in 2021 in the US. While this homecoming strategy has proven successful and Inoue became the undisputed champion of the super bantamweight division on Japanese soil by defeating Marlon Tapales in December last year, some boxing experts believe it’s time for a change. Shawn Porter, too, recently argued that Inoue is missing a golden opportunity by staying in Japan.

The American market offers a lucrative payday and a chance for Inoue to solidify his global dominance in front of a wider audience. But Inoue seems content to fight in front of his home crowd. And it’s a bit jarring since America loves this Japanese boxer. So much so, that the legendary boxer Mike Tyson even called him the “best boxer in the world” in a candid interview on FightHub. However, despite all the opportunities abroad, Naoya Inoue remains adamant about fighting in front of a Japanese crowd. Why?

Naoya Inoue calls Japan the “new hub” for the lightweight division

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In a recent post on X, Inoue clapped back at critics who suggested that he needs to fight in America to solidify his legacy. Inoue was clearly passionate about his stance. His post, translated from Japanese, bristled with defiance: “In response to the comment saying I should come to America and play a match???” This direct question set the tone for his rebuttal.

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The Monster then boldly declared Japan as the new “home of the lightweight division.” Moreover, he wrote, “If you want to see the game, come to Japan. If there is something better than what is available in the Japanese market in America, I would be happy to go.” It is evident that he doesn’t believe that the US has anything special to offer him that he already isn’t receiving in Japan.

This statement was a clear challenge to the traditional dominance of the American boxing scene in the lighter-weight classes. Moreover, this post came right after the recent statements of Shawn Porter about Naoya Inoue’s career.

Shawn Porter wants to see the Monster out of his comfort zone

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Naoya Inoue’s dominance is undeniable. ‘The Monster’ boasts a perfect record and electrifies crowds in his native Japan. But the question lingers: can he become a global superstar without venturing outside his comfort zone? Former welterweight champion Shawn Porter believed a U.S. return is crucial for Inoue’s ascent.

We really don’t know what Inoue’s goals are – to be the next star in boxing? In boxing, you’ve got to come to the U.S., you’ve got to cross those seas and knock down some Americans to make these other Americans [fans] take notice of what you’re doing.” Porter pondered on Pro Box TV’s ‘Deep Waters’.

Historically, American soil has been the proving ground for boxing legends. Porter argued that facing American challengers and captivating American fight fans is a necessary step for Inoue to achieve superstardom. While Inoue enjoys immense respect within the boxing world, Porter suggested there’s a disconnect with the American audience.

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There’s a lot of people who respect Inoue and what he’s doing,” Porter said, “But if you’re someone like me, you’re saying, ‘Hey, let’s get him out of his own backyard, get him a little uncomfortable and see how he handles the energy when he’s not at home.” However, with his next match already scheduled in Japan and then a later match at the end of the year, possibly in Saudi Arabia, chances are we won’t see him riling up fans in the US anytime soon.

What are your thoughts on this? Tell us in the comments section.

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Written by

Chirag Radhyan

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Chirag Radhyan is a senior boxing writer at EssentiallySports. Having authored close to 2K articles, he is a live-coverage specialist, contributing to the detailed reportage of live boxing events ranging from the Jermell Charlo vs Canelo Alvarez bout to Ryan Garcia vs Gervonta Davis. Moreover, his coverage of the off-court drama between Jake Paul and Tommy Fury received widespread appreciation from readers.
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Gokul Pillai