Inoue vs Butler – ESPN+ – December 13 – 2:30 am ET
Paul Butler goes in search of boxing immortality in December when he faces Naoya Inoue for the undisputed world bantamweight title.
The WBO champion tackles Japanese hero Inoue, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, on Tuesday, December 13 on a historic night for the sport, promoted by Ohashi Promotion and Teiken Promotions in association with Probellum.
Inoue holds the IBF, WBA and WBC belts and wants to clean up the division before moving up in weight – but two-time world champion Butler holds the missing piece of the puzzle.
And the fighter from Ellesmere Port, in the UK, heads to the Land of the Rising Sun, fully intent on becoming boxing’s first undisputed bantamweight champion in half a century and scoring one of the biggest away wins by a British fighter ever.
Paul Butler said: “I’ve been boxing for over 20 years and all the successes and set-backs have led me here, to the biggest fight of my career, with the biggest prize in the sport on offer.
“I am under no illusions as to the size of the task that faces me, but I have been going to bed dreaming of becoming the undisputed bantamweight champion of the world.
“Inoue is a phenomenal fighter but not one person should be underestimating me, my skills, or my resolve. I am going to Japan to write my name into the history of our sport.”
Richard Schaefer, President of Probellum, said: “It does not get any bigger than this, but Paul Butler is ready to carve out history, cause a seismic upset and return home as the undisputed world bantamweight champion.
“We all appreciate how good Naoya Inoue is, we have seen it repeatedly, but the people who really know Paul, know what he is made of and the greater the challenge, the greater his performance will be.”
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Naoya Inoue is braced for a ‘long battle’ with Paul Butler
Inoue and Butler are both hoping for a good fight to become undisputed world champion at 118lbs
The Japanese star holds the WBC, WBA and IBF titles while Probellum fighter Butler owns the WBO version, and a clash between the pair would crown a first undisputed champion at the weight, in almost half a century.
Inoue has read Nonito Donaire’s recent interview with Probellum.com in which the Filipino Flash – beaten by ‘Monster’ in June – has advised Butler to employ certain tactics against the knockout artist.
“I read a story that Donaire is advising him to move around, use his jab, utilize his speed, and lateral movement,” Inoue told The Ring.
“If Butler does that, I think it will be a long battle. A lot of people think I’m a quick KO puncher, always knocking opponents out in the early rounds, but I’m actually not a hyper-aggressive fighter, so I’m going to have to figure out how Butler will come out and how we’ll engage.”
Inoue has plans to move up a weight class, and become a four-division world champion, but insists he is not overlooking Butler.
“Butler’s strengths are his footwork, jab and lateral movement. I will need to make a solid strategy,” he added.
“Butler might not be as big of a threat as Donaire, especially power wise, to be completely honest, but I do think he’s a capable fighter, and this is a full unification fight at 118 pounds, so my motivation is still very high.”
INOUE – BUTLER DATE, START TIME
- Date: Tuesday, December 13
- Main card: 7 p.m. JST / 10 a.m. GMT / 5 a.m. ET
- The fight will take place at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
- Main event ringwalks (approx): 9:30 p.m. JST / 12:30 p.m. GMT / 7:30 a.m. ET
- ESPN+ will broadcast the fight in the U.S , a UK broadcaster has not been announced.
- The main card is set to get underway at 7 p.m. JST / 10 a.m. GMT / 5 a.m. ET with the main event ringwalks scheduled for 9:30 p.m. JST / 12:30 p.m. GMT / 7:30 a.m. ET.
- Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Buter; For the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO world bantamweight titles
- Yoshiki Takei vs. Bruno Tarimo; Super bantamweight
- Andy Hiraoka vs. Min Ho Jung; Super lightweight
- Takuma Inoue vs. Jake Bornea; Featherweight
- Satoshi Shimizu vs. Landy Cris Leon; Super featherweight
- Hironori Miyake vs. Peter McGrail; Featherweight