Inoue decisioned Petch Sor Chitpattana for the interim belt in December
Nordine Oubaali defended his WBC bantamweight title in dominant fashion this past Saturday, stopping Arthur Villanueva in Kazakhstan, and now faces a pair of mandatory obligations. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman tells ESPN Deportes that Oubaali must now fight interim champion Takuma Inoue, with the winner of that then facing Luis Nery.
You’ll note that Sulaiman does not say “the winner of Nery vs. Juan Carlos Payano,” just “Nery.”
Inoue (13-0, 3 KO), brother of Naoya, has technically been in line to challenge for the belt since beating Mark John Yap in a final eliminator last September. Things wound up getting complicated, leaving Inoue to defeat Petch Sor Chitpattana while Oubaali (16-0, 12 KO) faced former Olympic foe Rau’shee Warren for the vacant title.
Nery (29-0, 23 KO) fights Payano (21-2, 9 KO) on July 20th as part of the Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman undercard. “Panterita” knocked out Shinsuke Yamanaka for the belt in 2017, was allowed to keep it despite failing a drug test, then missed weight so badly in the rematch that he initially came in above the super bantamweight limit.
While Payano ruining everything would be the funniest outcome, Inoue-Nery is the most interesting from a storytelling perspective. There are tons of intriguing angles here; Nery is banned for life from competing in Japan due to the Yamanaka debacles and currently presents the most intriguing opponent in the division for Naoya. I’m torn, y’all.