When Nordine Oubaali captured the vacant WBC bantamweight title last month, he expected to do so in easier fashion than in his last meeting with Rau’shee Warren, whom he narrowly defeated at the 2012 Olympics.
“I knew I would win easier this time because fighting in the pro ranks isn’t like the amateurs,” Oubaali told RingTV of their fight on the Pacquiao-Broner undercard, which he won by unanimous decision.
With the win, Oubaali now has a mandatory opponent in Japanese up and comer, Takuma Inoue. The fight has a number of different potential landing spots including a Tokyo showcase.
When RingTV asked Oubaali if he’d be okay with the trip, he conveyed no reservations about it. “Why not? For me it’s no problem. I want to be the number one bantamweight in the world,” said Oubaali.
Inoue, who became the top contender by handing Petch Sor Chitpattana his first defeat last December, is also eager to settle their business.
“I’m really looking forward to fighting Oubaali. [Promoter] Ohashi-san is taking care of the next fight and I’m ready for him anytime. I look forward to that day. I’m very excited for my first title shot,” said Inoue.
Takuma’s older brother Naoya is currently enrolled in the World Boxing Super Series and is waiting on a date to fight for the IBF bantamweight title against champion Emmanuel Rodriguez. Both brothers are looking for their first taste of true bantamweight gold and could eventually have a monopoly on the division should Takuma defeat Oubaali and Naoya win the tournament, which is now in its semi-final round.
Oubaali isn’t keen on letting that Yokohama dream scenario happen. “It’s possible I’ll knock [Takuma] out. Takuma and Warren are different styles. Takuma is more powerful but Warren is more slick and smart.”
In his last fight, Inoue demonstrated a twelve round strategy to outbox and maneuver the puncher who was looking for a knockout. A similar strategy could be employed against Oubaali who likes to press the action, though more aggressively than Chitpattana. However the styles come together, expect a well thought out game plan by both corners in a fight that could go either way.
The bantamweight division is heating up and expected to have two top dogs by the year’s end. Whether or not its controlled by the Inoue brothers, split with Oubaali, or a different less likely outcome, remains to be seen. In the meantime, strap in for another competitive matchup in WBC champion Nordine Oubaali versus Takuma Inoue, set to take place later this year.
Contact Nick Skok on Twitter at @NoSparring
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