By Robert Coster
The co-main event of the Naoya Inoue-Nonito Donaire battle last Thursday saw WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali retain his title with a convincing decision over the Monster’s younger brother Takuma Inoue.
This victory has no doubt opened the door for a grudge match between both titleholders and Oubaali says “the sooner, the better. Naoya is over-hyped. Let’s unify our titles.” Fightnews.com® reached the WBC monarch to talk about the possible intriguing showdown between the two unbeaten boxers.
Any remarks about the fight with the younger Inoue brother?
Of course, I am happy that I won clearly as it naturally is a big challenge defending your belt in the opponent’s home country. It was not an easy fight because Takuma came in very motivated. We fought in front of 20,000 of his fans so he gave a 110 % performance. Me on the other hand, I felt not at my best for a number of reasons. We have however identified the weak points and surely my next performance will be even better.
Did you watch Inoue vs Donaire? What did you think of champion Inoue’s performance? Is he really such a “monster”? Are you going to be the monster-tamer?
I watched Naoya’s fight from my locker room and the fight pretty much went the way I expected it. Nonito did very well and he exposed the weaknesses of Naoya. Nonito almost KOed Naoya at some point and I think the Nonito of a couple of years ago would have done the job. Naoya is a good fighter that deserves respect but that’s it, not more and not less. If and when I fight him, I will beat him.
Was your victory celebrated in France? I’m sure you would like a rebirth of boxing in France.
France is a country with a rich boxing tradition, but for some reason in the past couple of years it went down. I am currently the only world champion coming out of France so, of course, the media is keen on what I’m doing and the fight was shown live in France. My popularity is rising quickly and many people already recognize me.
I am confident that my success motivates and paves the way for young talents to follow my footsteps. In my training group that my brother Ali Oubaali who is also an ex-Olympian and successful pro boxer leads, there is one of the best upcoming talents – Souleymane Cissokho (Olympic Bronze medal).
One should also not forget that I have two hearts in my chest – besides the French one it is very important for me to also represent the home of my ancestors which is Morocco. My success also ignited a wave of euphoria in Morocco that motivates many young talents to pick up the sport and I am very proud of that.
Inoue has signed up with Top Rank and his next bout will be in the USA. Would you like to be on that card?
Sure, why not? I won my world championship in Las Vegas and it would be nice to come back to defend it. I have trust in my manager Mirko Wolf of MTK Global and I know that MTK is working closely with Top Rank so I am sure good things will come.
So, what is your message to Inoue? You are aiming at 2-0 against the Inoue family?
Naoya Inoue called me out after I beat and dropped his brother in front of him and his fans.
I like Japan so I don’t want to take away their hero from them but I also want his WBA and IBF belts so let’s do it! Anytime, anywhere!