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Takuma Inoue After the Crown Vacated by his Brother "The Monster" Naoya

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  • Takuma Inoue After the Crown Vacated by his Brother "The Monster" Naoya

    Two years and eight months younger than his stellar brother, Takuma Inoue will seek the WBA vacant bantamweight belt on April 8 with the intention of keeping that title within the family. Takuma (17-1, 4 KOs) will face Liborio Solís (35-6-1, 16 KOs) in Tokyo at the Ariake Arena, a sports center with a capacity for 15,000 spectators.

    Born 27 years ago, Takuma (pictured on the left) occupies second place in the WBA ranking at 118 pounds, while Liborio, 40, is ranked just a step behind him. The first place is vacant.

    Both received the opportunity to fight for the belt after undefeated Naoya "The Monster" Inoue, considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters (Editor’s Note: Home ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world in the current rankings on this site), decided to relinquish his four bantamweight titles and try his luck in the super bantamweight (122 pound) division.

    The youngest of the Inoues has four victories inside the distance, the most recent last December by technical knockout in the eighth round against Jake Bornea (14-4-1, 7 KOs), precisely in the same venue where he will cross gloves with Solís.

    In his 18 professional bouts so far, Takuma has exhibited a high technical level, intelligence, and combativeness, but he lacks the extraordinary punching power of his brother Naoya (24-0, 21 KOs).

    Prior to that win streak, Takuma succumbed by unanimous decision to southpaw Nordine Oubaali in November 2019 at the Super Arena in Saitama, in which the winner retained the WBC belt in the bantamweight division.

    Six months later, in Oubaali’s next fight, he took a beating from Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (42-7, 28 KOs), who knocked him out in the fourth round in Carson, California. After the setback, which included a previous knockdown in the third round, Oubaali has not returned to competitive action.

    Former 115-pound world champion Solís has scored five successive victories since he fell by split decision against southpaw Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-3, 13 KOs) in February 2020.

    Last November, forty-year-old Solís anesthetized Luis “Mosquito” Carrillo (18-23-1, 16 KOs) in the second round of a scheduled eight round bout. However, that victory is not very impressive as 20 of Carillo’s 23 losses were by knockout. The fact that Carillo failed to go the distance in 17 of his last 18 fights should also be noted.

    Solís has an extra level of difficulty in fighting as a visitor against Takuma Inoue, due to the pressure of the enthusiastic public which has provoked the bias of the judges on multiple occasions. That being said, Solís is not a stranger to the Japanese fans, as he has already fought in that region three times.

    Solís's stylish debut in Japan was in May 2013 when he beat local fighter Kohei Kono by majority decision at the General Ota-City Gymnasium in Tokyo, winning the WBA super flyweight belt. In a give-and-take match, Solis went to the canvas in the second round, but returned the favor to Kono in the eighth. In the end, two of the judges scored the fight in favor of Solís (115-111 and 114-112), while the third judge saw it as a draw.

    Seven months later, Solís returned to the Land of the Rising Sun in search of unification with Daiki Kameda whom he defeated by split decision in the city of Osaka. The judges reported two scorecards of 116-112 for Solís and one of 115-113 for Kameda, who lost the IBF belt. Two years later, the Japanese fighter hung up his gloves for good.

    In March 2016, in the city of Kyoto, Solís succumbed in his third fight in Japanese territory. His victimizer, Shinsuke Yamanaka, won the 118-pound WBC belt by unanimous decision. Yamanaka sent Solís to the canvas in the second and ninth rounds, while Solís dropped his opponent in the third.

    The April 8th show with Takuma Inoue and Liborio Solís will air live on Amazon Prime in Japan and ESPN+ in the U.S.

    Article submitted by Jorge Juan Álvarez in Spanish.

    Please note any adjustments made were for clarification purposes and any errors in translation were unintentional.