Luis Nery Gets Lifetime Japan Ban Overturned To Clear Way For Naoya Inoue Fight

February 26, 2024
2 months
Luis Nery

Mexican boxer Luis Nery has had his lifetime ban from fighting in Japan overturned by the Japan Boxing Commission, paving the way for a showdown with undisputed super-bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue.

Nery (35-1-0 27 KO) was issued an indefinite ban from the JBC in March 2018 after twice falling foul of the local boxing authorities.

Firstly, the then WBC bantamweight champion tested positive for the banned substance Zilpaterol before his fourth-round knockout of Shinsuke Yamanaka in August 2017 in Kyoto. After pleading that the failed test was due to contaminated food, the WBC ordered a rematch, but Nery arrived for the March 2018 bout fight five pounds over the weight limit, leading the WBC to strip him of title rights.

Nery managed to shed two pounds before the fight but still weighed in as a junior featherweight, handing the Mexican a huge size advantage, which he used to demolish Yamanaka in two rounds.

The JBC reacted by handing Nery an indefinite ban from fighting in Japan for the rest of his career. The typical one-year suspension was deemed not sufficient by the authorities due to Nery’s past problems when fighting in the country.

However, almost six years later, the JBC has reversed its decision, no doubt influenced by the prospect of Japanese superstar Inoue’s proposed fight with Nery.

Inoue (26-0-0 23 KO) became a two-weight undisputed world champion in December by taking Marlon Tapales’ IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles to add to his WBO and WBC belts via a 10th-round stoppage. ‘The Monster’ had also been the undisputed champion at bantamweight.

Reports first emerged last month that a fight between Inoue and the WBO’s No 1-ranked contender Nery had been agreed for Tokyo in May. While the fight was contingent on Nery getting his ban overturned, organizers were reportedly assured that it wouldn’t create an obstacle.

Like Inoue, Nery has held world titles at both bantamweight and super-bantamweight, although his short spell as the WBC champion at 118lbs was during his Japan controversy in 2017 and 2018.

After making the step up to super-bantamweight, Nery became a two-weight world champion by defeating Aaron Alameda for the vacant WBC title in September 2020 but lost his first title defense in a unification bout with then-WBA title holder Brandon Figueroa in May 2021.

Since then, Nery has amassed four straight victories, three of which have come inside the distance.

Should his bout with Inoue go ahead, the Mexican will face one of the most fearsome pound-for-pound stars in boxing. The Japanese fighter, who also won titles at flyweight and super-flyweight, has only been taken the distance three times in his career, and only twice over 12 rounds.

Inoue has fought the majority of his career in his native Japan, so while a fight with Nery could have taken place elsewhere, the JBC would not have wanted to prevent Japanese boxing’s poster boy from defending his titles on home soil just because of Nery’s ban.