Neither the road trip nor the longshot odds has Takeshi Inoue any less confident of shocking the world.
The former title challenger is a considerable underdog entering his showdown with unbeaten junior middleweight contender Tim Tszyu. FanDuel Sportsbook has Tszyu (19-0, 15KOs) has a -1200 betting favorite to prevail in their scheduled 12-round main event Wednesday at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park, Australia. Inoue is regarded as a +700 underdog and even less likely to knock out the second-generation boxer.
Yet that is precisely what he is prepared to do.
“I recognize that Tim is an exceptional opponent,” Inoue acknowledged during the final pre-fight press conference. “I don’t expect it to be an easy fight. I will apply myself 100% and fight to knock him out.
“I absolutely believe I will knock him out.”
It’s a bold claim from the Tokyo native, whose only career defeat came in a January 2020 title bid versus unbeaten Jaime Munguia who held the WBO junior middleweight title at the time. Inoue—who turns 32 on December 1—held his own in his second career fight outside of Japan, even if the final scorecards (120-108, 120-108, 119-109) didn’t properly reflect the effort.
Four wins have followed, including an eight-round decision over unbeaten countryman Nath Nwachukwu last November at Korakuen Hall where the majority of his career has taken place. The upcoming fight with Tszyu (19-0, 15KO) is his fourth career bout on the road, having also fought twice in Thailand versus made-to-order competition.
Tszyu is currently riding a five-fight knockout streak and has been among the most active high profile boxers in the sport today. The 27-year-old Australian is fighting for the fifth time since the pandemic and is rapidly emerging as the face of boxing for his home country.
None of that resonates with Inoue, who embraces the challenge against whom he views as the perfect opponent to propel him back onto the title stage.
“It’s not at all that I see any weaknesses in him,” explains Inoue. “It has more to do with the game plan I have worked on with my trainer. Seeing many Tim Tszyu fights, I see a fighter who is made to order for me.
“This is my opportunity to return to the world championship stage. This is what I’ve worked for my entire career, to become a world champion. A win on (Wednesday) will bring me there.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox