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Carrington calls out Naoya Inoue after TKO win over De Gracia


Bruce Carrington called out Japanese star Naoya Inoue last Saturday night following his eighth-round TKO victory over hapless replacement opponent Bryan De Gracia at MSG in New York.

Moments after stopping 30-year-old Panamanian De Gracia (29-4-1, 25 KOs) in the eighth round, Carrington (12-0, 8 KOs) leaned over the top rope and went down in front of Naoya Inoue in the crowd, who then left the arena a few moments later.

Inoue's hesitation to progress

The 31-year-old Inoue (27-0, 24 KO), who currently holds all four belts in the weight class just below the featherweight division (126) at super bantamweight (122) was interviewed before the fight and he said he wasn't ready to move forward yet.

“When I'm ready to make weight and when my body is ready,” Naoya Inoue told Top Rank Boxing ahead of the Carrington-De Gracia fight if he wants to move up to 126 soon.

Given the way Inoue has been speaking, it doesn't sound like he's planning to move up to featherweight to mix with the likes of Carrington, Nick Ball, Luis Alberto Lopez and Rafael Espinoza anytime soon, if ever.

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Inoue's vulnerability in a higher weight class

Inoue, 31, is starting to show his limits as a fighter after winning all four belts at 122 against vulnerable champions and struggling in his last two fights against Luis Nery and Marlon Tapales.

Nery had Inoue on deck in the first round of their final silver fight on May 6 in Tokyo. Three years earlier, Brandon Figueroa had easily handled this fighter. Inoue has a good thing going for fighting at super bantamweight, where the talent pool is low and no one threatens to beat him.

The Dangerous Waters of Featherweight

That would change for Inoue if he moved up to 126, where he would have to swim with the sharks in a division that teams up with dangerous predators who would view the Japanese star as food.

Inoue could potentially lose to four or five of the top fighters in the featherweight division if he moves up and chooses to fight them all rather than being outmaneuvered against the lower fighters.

It would be wise for Carrington, 27, not to pin his hopes on a fight with Inoue in the future, as it seems unlikely.

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Carrington's future prospects

Instead, Carrington should focus on one of the featherweight champions:

  • Luis Lopez – IBF
  • Rafael Espinoza – WBO
  • Nick Ball – WBA
  • Rey Vargas – WBC

“It’s interesting that he came to watch. He's leaving right now, so obviously he came to check on me. I really want this fight to happen soon,” Carrington told ESPN in an interview, saying he wanted to fight Naoya Inoue after his eighth-round TKO victory over De Gracia.

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