Naoya “Monster” Inoue ramped up his training by importing two left-handed Mexican heavy-hitters to his Osaka camp as the Japanese pound-for-pound king braces for a war with Filipino rival Marlon Tapales on 26 December in Tokyo.
After a full month of physical conditioning, Inoue, regarded as the world’s premier super-bantamweight, finally started banging bodies and he did so by taking on Erik Robles and Jose Angel Garcia.
Robles holds a 14-1 win-loss record with nine knockouts while Garcia parades a 10-3 card also with nine knockouts.
An official announcement is expected soon, according to the undefeated Inoue, who is risking his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization belts.
Tapales is also dangling the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation straps in this highly-anticipated four-belt unification clash.
The past few weeks, the date 26 December has been floating around but the Japanese promotional outfit of Inoue, headed by Akihiko Honda, remains tight-lipped.
But Tapales has been told to concentrate on training and that Honda’s impending announcement is just for formality.
In fact, Tapales is relocating his training camp to Baguio City early next month with one-time world title challenger Vincent Astrolabio serving as main sparring partner.
Currently, Tapales is in Las Vegas working under Ernel Fontanilla and Ting Ariosa.
Though the heavy underdog against Inoue, Tapales swears he is not going to Japan just to collect a paycheck but to score a major upset.
Tapales became a two-belt titleholder after beating Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan last April in San Antonio, Texas.
Inoue snatched the WBC and WBO 122-lb titles by crushing Stephen Fulton of the United States last July in Tokyo.