Welcome to the latest Random Sunday Read.
This week is all about delivering news on some upcoming fights – one still to be confirmed and one which is at the selling tickets stage.
For a column that sometimes dabbles in boxing, it would be remiss not to feature the speculation that one of boxing’s best might return to the ring on December 26.
The fighter in question – Naoya Inoue.
As you may or may not know, in a few parts of the world December 26 is known as Boxing Day – a traditional holiday which can make post-Christmas hangovers easier to deal with.
From speculation to a confirmed card. Las Vegas is hosting the next step of Shakur Stevenson’s lightweight campaign.
Stevenson will be in action at T-Mobile Arena on November 16 – a Thursday night date.
The event will act as an opener to a high profile motor racing weekend in the Nevada city.
Time to dig in.
Anyone Want An Undisputed Super Bantamweight Fight The Day After Christmas?
On December 13, 2022, Naoya “The Monster” Inoue defeated Paul Butler at Tokyo's Ariake Arena.
That outing saw the undefeated Japanese star become the undisputed bantamweight champion.
Inoue then made the move up to super bantamweight. His debut at 122-pounds was against unified champion Stephen Fulton.
The Monster put on a dominant display as he took Fulton's unbeaten record and WBC/WBO titles via eighth round TKO, becoming a four weight world champion in the process.
With the WBA and IBF titles at super bantamweight in the possession of another quality fighter, it seems boxing fans may receive an extra Christmas gift this year.
Who Stands In The Way Of Inoue Becoming Undisputed At Two Weights?
The fighter in question is Filipino southpaw Marlon “Nightmare” Tapales.
Tapales (37-3, 19KOs) secured his titles with something of an upset points victory over Murodjon Akhmadaliev in April.
While any current super bantamweight would start as a big underdog against Inoue, Tapales, also a former bantamweight world title holder, might cause Inoue some problems with his aggressive style.
Is This Fight Happening?
While we are waiting for confirmation, it appears the negotiations between two camps are going well.
According to boxing reporter Steve Kim, Inoue's American promoter Bob Arum remarked that the signs are encouraging for Inoue-Tapales in Japan on December 26.
Kim took to X (formerly Twitter) and wrote: “So Bob Arum tells me that he believes things are moving forward for Naoya Inoue-Marlon Tapales for all the belts at 122 in Japan on December 26.”
Is Boxing Day about to feature boxing for the first time in many a year?
Will Naoya Inoue become undisputed champion in two weight classes in a 12-month time frame? Watch this space!
What Exactly Is Boxing Day?
The name does get your hopes up, but unfortunately it is nothing to do with the sport of boxing.
Boxing Day is the name given to the day after Christmas.
It originated in Great Britain, and countries that were formerly part of the British Empire still mark it as a holiday.
Residents of the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa among others call December 26 Boxing Day.
The name is thought to originate from a tradition dating back to the 18th century.
The Oxford English Dictionary explains that the tradition of tradespeople or employees receiving a box of gifts from their employers can be traced back as far as 1743. Hence Boxing Day.
In modern society, December 26 is generally a holiday.
Retail, hospitality and emergency service workers may have to work, but most of the population can continue their Christmas celebrations.
This year, those celebrations could include Inoue vs. Tapales live from Japan.
A Boxing Day Blockbuster From The Archive
On Boxing Day 1908 a historic bout took place.
Sydney, Australia was the venue. Tommy Burns of Canada defended his heavyweight crown against Jack Johnson of America.
That is to say Burns attempted to defend it.
Johnson was far too good, and after being kept away from challenging for the title for years by racist attitudes, Johnson, in his 63rd bout, destroyed Burns to become the first black heavyweight champion of the world.
Reports from the day inform us that Johnson sent Burns to the mat in the opening round.
Knowing he was outclassed, Burns then resorted to directing racist remarks at Johnson in an effort to role him up.
Johnson kept his cool though and continued to administer a beat down on his inferior opponent.
The bout was halted by the police after 14 one-sided rounds and boxing history had been made.
Shakur Stevenson's Race To The Top Continues On November 16
Make note of this date in your boxing diary.
To coincide with a Formula 1 (Formula One?) event that weekend, Top Rank are showcasing a boxing card at T-Mobile Arena on the Thursday.
The promo poster for the card features a nice motor sport theme.
Topping the card is undefeated, two weight world champion Shakur Stevenson.
Stevenson will be contesting his second fight in the lightweight division as he looks to continue his rise up boxing's pound-for-pound rankings.
Edwin De Los Santos (16-1, 14KOs) of Dominican Republic will be Stevenson's opponent.
Following a split decision loss in early 2022, De Los Santos has rebounded nicely with three consecutive wins.
He will be looking to give fellow southpaw Stevenson his sternest career test to date.
Stevenson really does look a cut above though and fans should expect to see him hitting top gear on November 16.
Further details on this card are still to be finalised although we do know that the chief support bout will feature WBO super featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete (38-1, 31KOs) defending his title against Brazilian Conceicao (17-2, 8KOs).
Tickets for the pre-Grand Prix boxing bonanza are on sale now.