Rodriguez will face Naoya Inoue next. (Photo: Twitter @WBSuperSeries)
Japanese pound-for-pound star Naoya Inoue will challenge Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF bantamweight title on May 18 in Glasgow, Scotland. The bout will take place on the same card as IBF junior welterweight title bout between Ivan Baranchyk and Josh Taylor.
Rodriguez, who is rated No. 3 by The Ring at 118 pounds, reached the semi-final stages of the WBSS by outpointing Jason Moloney on Oct. 20 in Orlando, Florida.
Despite holding a world title, the talented Puerto Rican boxer-puncher will be a big underdog against Inoue who has been on devastating form.
“I have been waiting for this moment my entire life,” said Rodriguez (19-0, 12 knockouts). “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.”
Inoue, who is rated No. 1 by The Ring, annihilated former titleholder Juan Carlos Payano in just 70 seconds on Oct. 10. That was The Monster’s second consecutive first-round knockout (the other coming against Jamie McDonnell) and neither opponent had ever been stopped before.
“My destiny is to win the prestigious Ali Trophy and prove I am the best bantamweight in the world,” said Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs). “I cannot wait to box in the United Kingdom in front of their loud fans and I will show them a ‘Monster’ performance!”
“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.”
* Editor’s Note: Inoue holds a version of the WBA bantamweight title which is unrecognized by The Ring.
Tickets for the hotly-anticipated semi-finals on May 18 in Glasgow will go on sale soon. Fans are encouraged to sign-up for Ticket Alerts to receive an email reminder when tickets can be purchased.
Information courtesy of a press release issued by the World Boxing Super Series.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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