Naoya Inoue 20231228 [600x400]
Naoya Inoue 20231228 [600x400] (Credit: AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

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Star Japanese boxer Naoya Inoue will defend his undisputed junior featherweight championship vs. TJ Doheny in September in Tokyo, sources told ESPN.

Inoue, ESPN's No. 3 pound-for-pound boxer, will make the second defense of the WBA, WBO, IBF and WBC titles at 122 pounds. The bout will be streamed on ESPN+ in the U.S. in the morning.

The 31-year-old Inoue is coming off a sixth-round TKO victory over Luis Nery in May. Nearly 60,000 fans packed the Tokyo Dome to witness the future Hall of Famer's sixth consecutive fight in Japan.

Inoue's last fight outside his homeland was a June 2021 victory in Las Vegas.

Inoue (27-0, 24 KOs) was floored in the first round but rallied to handily defeat Nery. That was the first knockdown of Inoue's career. The matchup with Doheny (26-4, 20 KOs) will be Inoue's fourth at 122 pounds following wins over Stephen Fulton, Marlon Tapales and Nery.

Doheny, a 37-year-old Irishman living in Australia, will be a major underdog against Inoue. He has won three consecutive fights since a decision loss to contender Sam Goodman, all in Japan. Doheny (26-4, 20 KOs) was an underdog in two of those bouts.

Doheny is a former bantamweight titleholder. Both of his title victories came against Japanese fighters, an upset decision win over Ryosuke Iwasa in August 2018 and a successful defense over Ryohei Takahashi.

Doheny dropped the title in a unification bout to Daniel Roman in April 2019. He also lost to Michael Conlan in August 2021.

Inoue also owes mandatory defenses against Australia's Goodman, who suffered a broken hand in a stay-busy victory Wednesday in Australia, and Murodjon Akhmadaliev.