By: Hector Franco
LAS VEGAS – At the Theater at the Virgin Hotels, in Las Vegas, Nevada on ESPN, pound-for-pound star Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) faced off against the Philippines Michael Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20 KOs) for his WBA and IBF bantamweight titles.
Inoue, a three-division champion, having held titles at light flyweight, super flyweight, and bantamweight, would participate in the 16th championship bout of his career.
The Japanese power-puncher would be making his third appearance in the United States and just his fourth fight outside of his native Japan.
Although a massive underdog and relatively unknown, Dasmarinas, who fights southpaw, hasn’t lost a fight since December 2014.
From the start, Dasmarinas was cautious, reluctant to get in range of Inoue to land a punch. Inoue remained composed, analyzing and waiting patiently to find an opening to unleash an attack.
In the second round, with just 50 seconds left in the round, Inoue landed a body shot with a left hook that sent Dasmarinas to the canvas. Inoue has this intense focus in the ring that contributes to his pinpoint accuracy, making every punch brutal and impactful.
Inoue as the predator continued to press the action in the third round with Dasmarinas in survival mode. Giving Canelo Alvarez a run for his money as the best body puncher in boxing, Inoue split Dasmarinas’ guard and landed a left hook to the body that again sent him down.
Dasmarinas used all his strength to get back up; however, he was put down again with another left hook to the body.
Referee Russell Mora put an end to the bout at the 2:45 mark of the third round.
Inoue’s accuracy was on full display against Dasmarinas, landing 31 out of 48 total punches at a 65 percent connect rate. 17 of which were body shots.
At this time, Canelo Alvarez has been firmly set atop of the coveted pound-for-pound list. But, Inoue, in upcoming bouts, will have an opportunity to further his argument as the best fighter in the world.
Recently announced, former Inoue foe and future Hall-of-Famer Nonito Donaire will put his newly won WBC bantamweight title on the line against WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero in an all Filipino showdown. The bout will take place on August 14th at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Inoue will likely take on the winner for a chance to become the undisputed bantamweight champion.
“Basically, becoming the undisputed champion means I’m the best in that weight class,” stated Inoue.” To prove that, that’s why I’m going after all four belts.”
In 2019, Inoue and Donaire participated in the fight of the year in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament. Last April, Inoue was set to face Casimero in a unification bout before the world came crashing down due to the coronavirus.
Whether Inoue takes on Donaire or Casimero next, the bantamweight division has plenty of action for fans to look forward to.
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