WBA Bantamweight (Regular) champion, Naoya Inoue, will be defending his title in front of his home crowd in Yokohama, Japan. He will be defending his title against Juan Carlos Payano from the Dominican Republic.
Juan Carlos Payano enters this fight with a record of 20 wins and 1 loss. This will be the second time Payano is fighting in 2018 with his previous fight being against Mike Plania in Miami which he won via decision. That victory would have given Juan Carlos Payano lots of confidence as he defeated an unbeaten boxer. Juan Carlos Payano should be quite comfortable to handle the pressure of a title fight as he has previously won the WBA Bantamweight (Super) champion. This will be the first time that Payano is fighting outside of North America which will be a challenge for the Dominican fighter since the crowd will be against him.
On the other side of the ring, Naoya Inoue will look to defend his title and maintain his unbeaten record which is currently 16 wins and no losses. Inoue is one of the most aggressive boxers in the world and this is best represented by the fact that 14 out of his 16 wins have come via knockout which is very high for the bantamweight division. This will be the first time that Naoya Inoue will be defending the title as he won the belt in his last fight against Jamie McDonnell earlier this year. The title victory was very impressive as Inoue knocked out McDonnell in the first round. With the confidence gained from that win and the crowd behind him, Naoya Inoue will be very tough to beat.
This fight will be decided by how long it last considering Naoya Inoue has won his past 5 fights in 6 rounds or under. If Payano can stretch this fight out all 12 rounds he should be the favorite since Naoya Inoue has not been in such long fights for a long time. That being said, I see Naoya Inoue winning this fight by knocking out Payano in the first 6 rounds. Naoya Inoue is very high on confidence and will have the crowd behind him which should be enough for him to beat Payano and defend his title.