The “Monster” will wake up American fight fans on Friday morning. (photos by Naoki Fukuda).
From the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, two-weight world champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue will move up in weight to face WBA bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell, and WBC light flyweight champion Ken Shiro will make the third defense of his belt in a rematch against Ganigan Lopez.
This world championship doubleheader, promoted by Ohashi Promotions and Teiken Promotions, will be broadcast live and exclusively in the United States at 7:15 a.m. ET on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company's Direct-to-Consumer and International segment and ESPN.
Inoue (15-0, 13 KOs) has been competing at the world level since 2014 when, in his sixth professional bout, he knocked out Adrian Hernandez in the sixth round to win the WBC light flyweight title.
Later that year, he moved up two weight classes and stopped longtime WBO junior bantamweight champion Omar Narvaez in the second round. After making seven defenses of that title, Inoue is moving up to fight an established champion in McDonnell (29-2-1, 13 KOs), who has made six title defenses since winning the belt in May 2014.
Shiro (12-0, 6 KOs) won the WBC light flyweight over Lopez via majority decision in a closely contested bout May 20 of last year in Tokyo. Lopez (28-7, 17 KOs) fought valiantly in the championship rounds, but Shiro did just enough to earn the decision.
Shiro last fought on December 30, scoring a fourth-round TKO over Gilberto Pedroza. For Lopez, this will be his first sanctioned fight since he lost the title.