Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images
Inoue will challenge Gakuya Furuhashi to unify the OPBF and Japanese belts
As far as the undercard goes, Naoya Inoue’s June 7th rematch with Nonito Donaire is much more reminiscent of a standard Japanese show than a Top Rank blockbuster. The co-main event pits Inoue’s brother Takuma against veteran countryman Gakuya Fukuhara, while rising super lightweight prospect Andy Hiraoka takes on Shun Akaiwa.
Inoue (15-1, 3 KO) has won two straight since an unsuccessful 2019 bantamweight title bid against Nordine Oubaali. He returned to the win column in 2021 with a decision over ranked contender Keita Kurihara, then moved up to beat former title challenger Shingo Wake in his super bantamweight debut.
Veteran slugger Furuhashi (28-8-2, 16 KO) stopped Yusaku Kuga for the Japanese title in January of last year, then defended it with a quick finish of Seigo Hanamori and a majority draw in a rematch with Kuga. He’s unbeaten since 2016, and if anyone can drag a barnburner out of the light-punching but technically savvy Inoue, it’s him.
Hiraoka (19-0, 13 KO) claimed his own Japanese title by stopping then-unbeaten Jin Sasaki last October. This figures to be a sizeable step back against Akaiwa (7-3-1, 5 KO), who got flattened by the aforementioned Sasaki in just 45 seconds four fights back.