Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue faces Emmanuel Rodriguez on May 18 for the Puerto Rican’s IBF strap in their 118lb Ali Trophy semi-final.
The SSE Hydro will be rocking as the IBF bantamweight title bout takes place the same night as Scotland’s Josh Taylor takes on Belarus’ IBF World champion Ivan Baranchyk in a semi-final of the 168lb division of the World Boxing Super Series.
‘Monster’ Inoue (17-0, 15KOs) advanced to the semi-final on October 10 in Yokohama, Japan making a mind-blowing statement when he knocked out former champ, Juan Carlos Payano from the Dominican Republic, with an electrifying jab-cross only 70 seconds into the first round.
On October 20 in Orlando, USA Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12KOs) retained the IBF title with a twelve round split decision over previously undefeated Jason Moloney from Australia. The scores were 115-113 for Moloney and two times 115-113 for Rodriguez after a high-intensive back-and-forth battle.
Both Inoue and Rodriguez have credible reasons for entering the semi-final stage with poise and self-assurance.
“My destiny is to win the prestigious Ali Trophy and prove I am the best bantamweight in the world,” said Inoue. “I cannot wait to box in the United Kingdom in front of their loud fans and I will show them a ‘Monster’ performance!”
“I have been waiting for this moment my entire life,” said Rodriguez. “I always wanted to fight the best, and now I am fighting a boxer considered the best by the boxing reporters and fans. That’s great motivation for me, my team, and Puerto Rico, We got this.
“I am going to get the victory. Puerto Rico will shine in Scotland and I am confident of going all the way and take home the Ali Trophy.”
“This amazing match-up highlights the vision of the World Boxing Super Series,“ said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer.
“Two unbeaten World Champions, two sublime athletes, are putting everything on the line for a place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series where the Ali Trophy awaits the winner. It doesn’t get bigger than this.”