Undefeated Japanese knockout artist Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17 KO’s) will defend his WBA and IBF bantamweight world titles on Saturday June 19 against Filipino IBF No.1 contender Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20 KO’s). This fight will be taking place at a full capacity Theater at Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas for the second consecutive week as part of a number of Top Rank headlining shows to be taking place at the Theater.
Inoue has already cemented his legacy as one of Japan’s great fighters after becoming a three-weight world champion, with a record of 15-0 with 13 KO’s in world championship fights thus far. He made his Las Vegas debut last October against Australian contender Jason Maloney, who he stopped in the seventh round with a beautiful short right hand.
Dasmarinas enters the ring against one of the pound-for-pound greatest of today with some good momentum, going 12-0-1 since his last loss against Lwandile Sityatha in 2014.
As a bantamweight, Inoue does not get the recognition his talent merits due to being a lower weight fighter, but he is a hardcore fans’ favourite. This is a man who signed an oath early in his career promising to never fight an easy opponent. Inoue’s achievements and the rate of his accomplishments thus far have fulfilled his promise.
Beating such big names on his rise to the top such as Nonito Donaire, who is still proving his greatness at 38, in a great back-and-forth war worthy of testing any young champions’ heart and desire, proved the Japanese ace’s credentials.
Prior to the Shakur Stevenson vs Jeremiah Nakathila fight, whilst speaking on the Top Rank broadcast, Inoue stated his ambitions are to unify all four bantamweight titles against WBO champion, John Riel Casimero, and a rematch against WBC champ, Donaire. Inoue clearly epitomises everything the sport of boxing needs to thrive - a desire to fight all of the best and ensuring there is one definitive champion.
Dasmarinas has found himself in a position in which a huge upset victory will propel his profile and legacy overnight. For a fighter lacking any real credible names on his resume, his lofty status with the IBF raises the same old questions regarding the questionable rankings with the governing bodies, which can often result in total mismatches between champions and mandatory challengers, a recent example being Saul Canelo Alvarez vs Avni Yildirim. Fans cannot do more than hope that when provided with the opportunity, the least the mandated challenger can do is hold their own at a high level.
One-punch power, speed, movement, footwork, “The Monster” has it all and is the most destructive bantamweight in the world. Pound for pound, Inoue is up there in the conversation with absolutely anybody in the sport regarding both power and ability. Speed and power coupled with technique and timing makes Inoue a terrifying opponent to face.
In order to have a realistic chance of defeating such calibre of opposition, Dasmarinas will certainly have to live up to his moniker of “Hot and Spicy”.
By Sina Latif of SimBoxx
Twitter - @_sina93
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