• Kyodo


Naoya Inoue announced Tuesday that he will seek a title in his third weight class when he challenges WBA bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell of Britain in May.

In his 16th professional bout, Inoue, a former WBC light flyweight champion and WBO super flyweight champion, will face McDonnell in the Briton’s seventh defense of his WBA crown on May 25 in Tokyo.

If the 24-year-old Inoue wins, he will become the fifth Japanese three-division world champion after Koki Kameda, Kazuto Ioka, Akira Yaegashi and Hozumi Hasegawa.

Inoue will vacate his WBO belt in the 115-pound (52.16-kg) weight class as he moves up to bantamweight at 118 pounds (53.52 kg). He defended the WBO super flyweight title for the seventh straight time in December.

“(Bantamweight) is a class that’s familiar to Japanese fans. I’m looking forward to going to that stage too,” Inoue said at a news conference.

Inoue is 15-0 (13 knockouts).

The 31-year-old McDonnell, a former IBF bantamweight champ, has 29 wins, including 13 KOs, two losses and one draw.

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