Unified Bantamweight world champion Naoya Inoue taks to the stage in the main event at the MGM against Australian Jason Moloney on Saturday night on a stacked Top Rank card.
The co-feature takes place between Ewa Brodnicka and Mikaela Mayer for the WBO junior lightweight title to complete a world title double header in the MGM bubble in Las Vegas.
The event starts at 7:30PM ET and will be streamed on ESPN+ in America and FITE TV on selected global markets.
GBN Editor Ben Davies previewed the main and co-main events in Vegas on Saturday night:
The 'Monster' Naoya Inoue will make his Top Rank debut in America against top ten division contender Jason Moloney who is looking to dethrone the unified champion and take his second shot at becoming world champion, after missing out the first time against Emmanuel Rodriguez back in 2018.
27-year-old Inoue has shot into the world spotlight even withoutthe help of the multi-national coverage that boxing recieves in this day and age, claiming several scalps through sheer power and speed, and not just recording victories but demolishing his opponent and putting on a show for the crowd.
Since beginning his professional career back in 2012, the Japanese warrior has dispatched of any challenge he has faced, first moving through the Flyweight division and earning the WBC world title at 108 pounds, then moved through the division taking a huge risk to move up and dispatch of experienced Omar Narvaez to become junior bantamweight champion making a remarkable rise to two-world weight champion.
He then claimed his second world title belt at bantamweight after blasting through 7succesful defences taking opponents out early into the fight with sheer pressure and intimidation for such a small built fighter. His nickname 'Monster' became so familiar around the world demolishing his opponents in the early stages having never gone past the seventh round in three years of his professional career from 2016-2019. However after entering the World Boxing Super Series, we saw the real show-stopping aesthetic of the Japanese bantamweight who was taken into the deep end by Nonito Donaire in the Fight of The Year winner in 2019, which was also his last competitive fight.
This fight signposted the precise reason he has reached the pound for pound top rankings, going twelve rounds for one of the rare occasions in his professional career, with a routine win turning into a tremendous brawl against a former p4p contender in his own career. Donaire handed Inoue an explosive show of power and speed to go toe-to-toe with arguably the top fighter in the division, but still fell short with Inoue suriving every exchange and showing his own ability to box his way out of incoming trouble. However, this will give opponents such as Australian Jason Moloney confidence and a platform to analyse the way to take on such a monstorous and intimidting style, which is trying to fight fire with fire and not let Inoue take control and assert his dominance in the exchanges in the centre of the ring.
His opponent on Saturday night will be hoping to pull off a sensational shock, but has earned his shot at Inoue after a series of impressive performances since his failed world title attempt back in 2018. Moloney would of been fast forwarded into a matchup with Inoue in 2019 had he defeated Emmanuel Rodriguez to earn his world title belt and reach the final, but fell just short after a valiant attempt in the championship rounds to overturn a signficant deficit on the scorecards, leading to a split decision defeat.
'The Smooth One' has a good level of amateur pedigree representing Australia at the 2010 commonwealth games and defeating Michael Conlan in the tournament before eventually being defeated in the quarter final but ,aking a huge statement ahead of his future transition to professional boxing in 2014, where him and his brother Andrew Moloney, would become the first ever Australian brothers to simultaneously reign as Commonwealth champions.
However Moloney has rallied his career back on track returning to national level and winning three consecutive fights by way of stoppage, before returning to the ring in June where he forced the retirement of Leonardo Baez in the MGM bubble so will have the advantages of a more recent fight to remove ring-rust and familarity with the new surroundings in the Bubble as a result of the ongoing pandemic situation in the sport.
Inoue: The 'Monster' will once again try to use speed, power and aggression from the first bell to intimidate and roughen up his opponent to gain a foothold on the scorecards early on, and also try to inflict damage and fatigue on his opponent to prevent any late onslaught. He will no doubt show an excellent shot selection, using whipping body shots to counter regularly and slow any potential aggression from Moloney.
Moloney: No doubt using Inoue's last opponent as an example of planned style, Moloney will try to go toe-to-toe with Inoue by getting in his face early on and matching his aggression and power while trying to outbox the Japanese fighter and state his own claim to keep the deficit managable in the early stages, and try to rally in the championship rounds just as he did in his last world championship attempts, but will need an added degree of balance and composure to make sure any last-ditch onslaught is not too late to force the judge's hands on the scorecards.
Ben's Predicition: Naoya Inoue by unanmious decision or late stoppage with valiant display from game Jason Moloney
WBO world champion Ewa Brodnicka takes on undefeated challenger Mikaela Mayer for the WBO world female super featherweight title in the co-main event under the lights at Vegas, with the challenger favourite among many experts going into the fight despite going in as challenger.
Mayer has been tipped to go to the very top by all of those around her and have recieved exceptional backing and support from Top Rank who currently believe that she is their best female fighter and will complete the job on Saturday and become world champion. She is widely considered the #2 American female fighter after the dominant Claressa Shields and level with the undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskil and Mary Mcgee but needs to prove it to extend her undefeated record against a tough, aggressive opponent.
She has a superb ringcraft, is quick and nimble on her feet and possesses a superb boxing intelligence that she will be looking to unveil on her opponent on Saturday night. Coached currently by Al Mitchell, Mayer's amateur career points to a large amount of potential success in her professional career winning bronze at the 2012 world championships and representing her country at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
However to prove she can mix it with the top level fighters particularly nationally in America and globally, she needs to emulate the achievements of some of her fellow American female fighters and comprehensively outbox a stern physical champion who represents a more significant test than her opponents in the past two years.
Polish fighter Brodnicka cannot be by any means taken lightly having reigned as WBO champion since 2018 after securing her interim status back in 21018, but a clash with Mayer represents her biggest challenge yet and a significant step-up in comparison to her recent title defences.
This will be Brodnicka's first test on foreign soil outside of her native Poland where she has dominated several contenders nationally and maintained her unbeaten record of 19-0. After a period of uncertainty during the pandemic, Brodnicka will need to continue to use her clear mental toughness and clear precision and technical ability to assert her presence in the ring from the first bell and take on an exceptionally real challenge in the form of Mikaela Mayer, who has the amateur background and superb conditioning and training that many previous opponents have not possessed.
Prediction: Mikaela Mayer to win via decision on the scorecards and become WBO female world champion
From ESPN+, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT
Robson Conceição vs. Louie Coria, 10 rounds, junior lightweight
Andres Cortes vs. George Acosta, 8 rounds, junior lightweight
Julian Rodriguez vs. Jose "Piston" Lopez, 10 rounds, junior welterweight
Jared Anderson vs. Luis Eduardo Pena, 6 rounds, heavyweight
Andy Hiraoka vs. Rickey Edwards, 8 rounds, junior welterweight