Naoya Inoue will receive an offer to fight in Australia if he successfully defends his undisputed super bantamweight title against Luis Nery

His stoppage of Stephen Fulton Jr in July 2023 has contributed to him becoming widely recognised as the world’s finest fighter, and the Australia-based No Limit Boxing hope to tempt him to fly south to defend his titles against Sam Goodman, the mandatory challenger to his titles from the IBF and WBO. 

Goodman, 25, fights his fellow Australian Mark Schleibs in Wollongong on March 13, two months before Inoue’s date with Nery on May 6 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, from where Inoue last traveled for successive fights in the US in 2021.

“This would be a huge coup for not only Australian boxing but Australian sport,” George Rose, the chief executive of No Limit Boxing, told “Inoue is a once-in-a-generation fighter and, in my opinion, the world’s number one pound-for-pound.

“When you look at his records, his world titles, all of the achievements – it’s phenomenal. It’s why the guy [Inoue] is packing out stadiums in Japan; why he has such a huge following globally, and why whenever he takes a world title fight it’s something the whole world tunes in for.”

Rose drew comparisons between the 30-year-old Inoue and Manny Pacquiao in the context of his increasing global appeal. The retired Pacquiao fought and lost to Jeff Horn in Brisbane in July 2017. Another of the world’s finest fighters, Devin Haney, twice defeated George Kambosos Jr in Australia in 2022; Vasyl Lomachenko fights Kambosos Jr in Perth on May 12. With Tim Tszyu headlining against Keith Thurman on March 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the Australian fight scene is threatening its most influential era since Kostya Tszyu’s prime.

“The aura he has at the moment, the fighter you compare him to is Pacquaio,” Rose continued. “It doesn’t matter if you’re from the Philippines or not. If you’re a boxing fan, you’re a Manny fan. Same with Inoue.

“When you look at the opponents Inoue has had lately, Sammy is very different, and that’s why he can be the one who takes it to the champ. Sammy Goodman is a guy who can’t be hit. He’s always in front of you, but the guy can’t be hit, and that’s why he is pursuing this fight [with Inoue] so confidently.

“So this next fight is suddenly a huge risk. Because if Sammy loses to Schleibs, he loses everything, but like Tim Tszyu, he [Goodman] wants to keep fighting and always stay ready.

“Sam Goodman’s a competitor.”