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Naoya Inoue vs Paul Butler Set For Undisputed Bantamweight Champion on December 13th – Since winning the IBF and The Ring titles in 2019, which were his two first international crowns, Naoya Inoue finally has a chance to complete all four majors and become the undisputed bantamweight world champion by the end of the year. Inoue and Paul Butler have agreed to terms for an undisputed clash on December 13th in Japan.

WBO bantamweight champion Butler (32-2, 15 KOs) figures to be a huge underdog against the big-punch Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs), who looks unbeatable at this point in his career. “The Monster” Inoue, who has an 86% knockout ratio, won the WBC and the WBA (Super) titles by defeating Nonito Donaire in their two fights in 2019 and 2022.

With coming off as a winner, Inoue will possess all four titles in the 118lb weight class and decide whether to move up to 122 and attempt to collect all the belts or stay at bantamweight and defend his four straps.

Inoue, 29, stopped and knocked out Donaire in the second round in their rematch last June in Saitama, Japan. Donaire had given Inoue huge problems in their first match in November 2019, losing a grueling 12-round unanimous decision in a fight that saw both fighters hurt.

By the time Inoue finally got around to giving Donaire a rematch and it was a total slaughter. The 39-year-old Donaire had slowed down considerably from their first fight and was easy pickings for the superstar Inoue in the rematch.

Inoue defended his WBA/IBF titles while claiming Donaire’s WBC crown, becoming Japan’s first-ever three-belt titleholder in boxing history. He now aims to become the nation’s first-ever undisputed champion in the three- or four-belt era and Japan’s first undisputed champion in the splintered title era since 1975.

Naoya Inoue vs. Nonito Donaire 2 results: ‘The Monster’ demolishes brave veteran in two rounds to underline P4P status | Sporting News Singapore
Naoya Inoue inflicted a brutal beating on Nonito Donaire to win via a stunning second-round knockout and claimed the WBC belt in their rematch last June.

“If the negotiations go smoothly, of course I would like to fight for the fourth belt and become the undisputed bantamweight champion,” Inoue previously told, though also already exploring a contingency plan. “I would love to stay in the division. If (a fight with Butler) can’t be done, then I am capable of moving up (to junior featherweight).”

“I haven’t watched his bouts in their entirety, but I can see he is a talented and aggressive boxer,” Inoue said about Butler. “If I can unify the four bantamweight titles this year, I would like to move up to the super bantamweight division,” said the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

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If Inoue moves up to 122lb, he can battle IBF/WBA champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev and WBC/WBO champ Stephen Fulton for their titles to try and become undisputed at super bantamweight. Ideally, it should be fast for Inoue to win all four belts, as long as his promoter Top Rank can get him the fights against those champions.

Butler (34-2, 15KOs) entered the mix after claiming the interim WBO title following a 12-round, unanimous decision over Jonas Sultan on April 22 in Liverpool, England. The fight was made after the 33-year-old from Ellesmere Point, England was twice denied the opportunity to face John Riel Casimero, a former three-division titlist who held the WBO bantamweight belt since November 2019. Two failed attempts to honor his mandatory with Butler saw the Filipino stripped of the belt and Butler upgraded to full champ from interim status earlier this spring.

Paul Butler
Butler beat late stand-in Jonas Sultan on points in Liverpool last April after Casimero pulled out of the bout.

Butler previously held the IBF bantamweight title, outpointing Stuart Hall in June 2014 before vacating in pursuit of winning a belt one division below at junior bantamweight. It proved futile, as Butler suffered his first career defeat in an eighth-round knockout at the hands of Zolani Tete in March 2015. Butler’s lone other loss came in a twelve-round decision to Emmanuel Rodriguez in their May 2018 vacant IBF bantamweight title fight.

Whoever gets out as a winner will be the first undisputed champion at bantamweight in close to 50 years. Especially for Inoue, if he made it, then he would put his name in history as a legend in the sport who completed all four major crowns in less than four years.

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