The Japanese star is making the move up in weight to go for his third world title in the third different weight class when he challenges WBA regular bantamweight titlist Jamie McDonnell. The two are fighting for more than just McDonnell’s belt as the winner is expected to earn a spot in the upcoming World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament.
The live stream of the card will begin on ESPN+ at 7 a.m. ET and will also include the rematch between 108lb titleholder Ken Shiro and former champion Ganigan Lopez.
“In the short time since its launch [on April 12], ESPN+ is becoming a wonderful platform to see world-class global fighters at all different hours of the day,” Top Rank president Todd duBoef told ESPN. “Friday’s event is another step we are taking toward bringing compelling world-class boxing to the ESPN platforms.”
Inoue (15-0, 13KO) won a junior flyweight world title in just his sixth professional fight in 2014. He then won a second world title in the super flyweight division in his eighth fight later that year. Inoue defended the title seven times before vacating it earlier this year to move up in weight again for a shot at McDonnell (29-2-1, 13 KO).
“I know McDonnell is a strong champion with his good height and good record,” said Inoue, who is 5-foot-5 to McDonnell’s 5-10. “I’d like to prepare well in order to win my third championship.”
McDonnell is making his seventh defense of his belt that he won back in 2014. He most recently is coming off of back to back bouts with Liborio Solis. After beating Solis by unanimous decision the first time the last one bout ended in a no contest after an accidental clash of heads caused the doctor to call a halt to the fight after just three rounds.
Shiro, who has only twelve fights will put his title on the line for the second time against Lopez. The Japanese native won a majority decision during their first bout.