CASIMERO GOES FOR TITLE UNIFICATION AGAINST INOUE
By Maloney L. Samaco
Sat, 25 Jan 2020
The Pride of Ormoc City Johnriel Casimero is slated to face Naoya Inoue of Kanagawa, Japan. This is the debut fight of the "Monster" for Top Rank Inc. "Quadro Alas" Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) is the WBO bantamweight champion while Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) is the IBF and WBA title holder. The unification match is scheduled on April 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The most probable site of the fight could be at Mandalay Bay Events Center, but no official announcement has been set.
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“We expect close to two thousand people coming from Japan if we do the fight in Vegas,” said Top Rank boss Bob Arum. Inoue is still healing fully his right eye socket, which was injured by the blows of Nonito Donaire.The Boxing Writers Association of America voted Inoue and Donaire's November 7 unification fight, whom the Japanese won by unanimousl decision, as "Fight of the year 2019."
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Casimero, a former IBF lightflyweight and flyweight champion, dethroned WBO champion Zolani Tete (28-4, 21 KOs) of South Africa by knockout in the third round of their November 30 fight in Birmingham, England. He then called out WBA/IBF champion Inoue for a unification match. The 30-year-old Casimero, a former IBF flyweight and IBF/WBO light flyweight champion, dropped Tete twice in the third round before the fight was stopped by referee Steve Gray.
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Casimero won the interim WBO bantamweight title by a 12th round stoppage of Mexican Ricardo Espinoza in Carson, California, last April 20, then defended the title on a 10th round knockout over another Mexican Cesar Ramirez in San Andres, Manila last August 24. The interim championship belt was established when WBO champ Tete was unable to fight because he was recovering from a training injury.
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Tete was scheduled to fight a unification battle with WBA titlist Donaire when he was forced to pull out due a shoulder injury. It could have been the biggest fight of his career and a win over "The Filipino Flash" would have catapulted the then deadly South African a chance to face Inoue in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final.
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Casimero is now promoted by Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions company. He believes if he can connect one solid punch on Inoue, the Japanese will be affected by the power of his blow and will become vulnerable. "A Casimero-Inoue fight is a match made in heaven…. their styles complement each," said international matchmaker Sean Gibbons, who also represents IBF super flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas, IBF mini flyweight champion Pedro Taduran, and WBA welterweight and eight-division world champion Pacquiao.
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Inoue has a very superb professional record with an 84% KO rate in 19 fights. Pound-for-pound, he was ranked No. 2 by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, No. 3 by The Ring and No. 4 by ESPN. Before his unanimous decision win over Donaire he scored fast and savage knockouts of Puerto Rican Manny Rodriguez (2nd round) Dominican Juan Carlos Payano (1st round) , and British Jamie McDonnell (1st round). He only fought once in the USA against American Antonio Nieves in September 2017 at the StubHub Center, Carson, California to defend his WBO super-flyweight title by 6th round stoppage.
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Filipino Michael Dasmarinas and Frenchman Nordine Oubaali were listed as possible opponents for Inoue’s next fight. Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20 KOs) is considered as the mandatory challenger for Inoue’s IBF title belt, but Inoue was given the chance to engage in a championship unification fight against Casimero. Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs) is scheduled for a mandatory title defense of his WBC bantamweight diadem against Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs), who is the No. 1 challenger for the title.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.
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