The Options Awaiting The Monster, Naoya Inoue
By: Kirk Jackson
After another successful defense of his WBA bantamweight world title this past weekend, Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs), improved his unblemished record and continues to forge his path towards greatness.
The pound-for-pound elite Inoue, swiftly and violently stopped Filipino challenger Michael “Hot and Spicy” Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20 KOs), with a series of lethal body shots.
“The first round, I just wanted to see what he had. It depended on how he came out, and after a little while, yeah, I thought I could get him out,” Inoue said during his post-fight interview.
“Against the number one ranked fighter, Dasmarinas, I think I had a great win. I prepare myself to knock them out, whether with a head shot or a body shot. I came prepared and to get a win by knockout is good for me.”
An eye-pleasing performance for spectators, albeit brief. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who was in attendance, was also impressed by Inoue’s showing.
Arum added, “Naoya Inoue is a unique force of nature inside that ring. Another incredible performance from ‘The Monster.’ We are seeing a great fighter at work here, and he is only going to get better.”
With performances like this, it may be hard-pressed to entice a large pool of challengers to take a shot at the reigning WBA/IBF/Ring bantamweight champ, oddly enough.
Sometimes, a fighter may display a certain measure of violent tenacity, discouraging even to other top-level contemporaries. Fighters of that classification, who immediately come to mind, are guys such as Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey, Mike Tyson, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran.
Additionally, there are fighters possessing great technical prowess; to the point, they utterly outclass and embarrass opponents, even discouraging potential suitors from taking the challenge.
Fighters who come to mind are Guillermo Rigondeaux, Floyd Mayweather (before he became the cash cow), Erislandy Lara and Gary Russell Jr.
In this modern era of alphabet title belts, it’s easier to avoid the pathway of particular champions, while still achieving great success. Yes, ducking still exists.
Which beckons the question, with this current incredible run from Inoue, will this enhance the notion, or actual reality, of fighters aiming to avoid “The Monster’s” wrath? There have been claims in the past from Inoue’s team, the difficulties of securing bouts – even as the reigning WBO junior-bantamweight champion.
Fortunately, for boxing fans, there are other fighters with the desire to not only challenge but defeat Inoue. Starting with one of those fighters who happened to be in attendance for Inoue’s fight, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs).
Donaire, the recently crowned WBC bantamweight champion, continues to elude the ill effects of old age, defy the odds and already has history with Inoue.
Their first encounter was a battle for the ages. It was voted the Ring magazine Fight of the Year for 2019. The culmination of skill, grit and competitiveness at the highest level, with all of the stakes on the line, battling for IBF, WBA, Ring Magazine bantamweight world titles, the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy (World Series of Boxing) and bantamweight supremacy.
Inoue battled adversity, overcoming a cut suffered early in the bout and outdueled the savvy veteran in a fight deemed as an instant classic.
Another potential would-be challenger to Inoue, also in attendance to witness his most recent performance, was three division world champion, John Riel “Quadro Alas” Casimero (30-4, 21KOs).
“It was a great performance by Naoya Inoue,” Casimero told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna after the fight. “Michael Dasmarinas fought scared and showed too much respect. But it was great seeing Naoya Inoue live.”
Casimero was previously scheduled to face Inoue last April, in a bantamweight title unification clash at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Those plans were canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the two ultimately going their separate ways.
“Quadro Alas” appeared last September, destroying previously unbeaten, Duke Micah inside of three rounds last September on Showtime Pay-Per-View. He will next face four-division world champion and current WBC bantamweight titlist Donaire, in a title unification clash scheduled for August 14 on Showtime.
Donaire, for his part, is stepping in for Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KO), who was removed from the matchup.
The winner of Casimero-Donaire, in all likelihood, is the next option for Inoue, with all three parties expressing an interest in pursuing the undisputed championship for their weight class. But for fun, we’ll explore other suitors, seeking “The Monster.”
Speaking of Rigondeaux, he mentioned his desire to go “Monster Hunting” awhile back and deemed Inoue “an excellent fighter, a great fighter, a warrior.”
Even if he is plagued with another long spell of inactivity, the future Hall-of-Famer is still a dangerous fighter and his style could present problems for Inoue. Considering how Rigondeaux was removed from a title bout through his own promotional company, not sure what the chances are of an opposing promotional company reaching out and manifesting a fight between the two.
At least, there is somewhat of a clear path at bantamweight for Inoue. As mentioned earlier, he ravaged through junior-bantamweight, then experienced difficulty luring the other champions in an effort to unify. We missed opportunities to see Inoue against the likes of Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras, or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
After the dust settles with Inoue’s unification attempt at bantamweight, as there isn’t a clear timetable for its conclusion, greater challenges await Inoue in a deeper weight class at super bantamweight.
Arguably from top to bottom, super bantamweight is the deepest in boxing. One of the premier fighters of the division already has his eyes set on “The Monster.”
The WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs), has a bout with WBC and WBA champion Brandon Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) on Sept. 11 in a 122-pound unification match on Showtime. The unified winner, whether it be Figueroa or Fulton, would at the very least have the world titles and acclaim to lure Inoue.
The 26-year-old Fulton has a strong conviction on the damage he’ll inflict on Inoue. The Philadelphia-bred product is one of the best young fighters in the sport and alluded to his skills and size as determining factors en route to his predicted victory. That is, if the fight were to ever materialize.
“I see me wiping him out clean! Inoue is too small for me, he’s too short, his reach isn’t there, I’m not going to sit there for those power shots all the time,” Fulton said of Inoue.
“He’s good, but he’s not better than me. I believe what happened to Nery (when Figueroa knocked him out last month) will happen to him.”
John Riel Casimero: “(Naoya) Inoue, See You Soon, Easy Work”
By: Hans Themistode
By all accounts, the performance of Naoya Inoue was breathtaking.
The unified bantamweight champion made it look incredibly easy this past weekend against mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas. Three rounds were all Inoue needed at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A crushing body shot sent Dasmarinas down to the canvas early on. And while he would rise to his feet a few seconds later, Inoue made him fold with another shot to the midsection, ending the night. Immediately following the win, fans that were in the arena stood on their feet and cheered for the Japanese fighter. Yet, John Riel Casimero, WBO belt holder, sat stoically in his seat, unimpressed and appeared to be restraining himself from yawning.
The Filipino product has called for a showdown against Inoue for a number of years now. Even with the pound-for-pound star flat-lining his most recent opponent, Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) believes he’ll take care of business against Inoue without much trouble.
“It was a good performance but easy work,” said Casimero during an interview with FightHype.com.
For as badly as Casimero wants to get his hands on Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs), he’ll first have to take care of business in his next ring appearance. After agreeing to take on the highly skilled former two-time Olympic Gold medalist, Guillermo Rigondeaux on August 14th, Casimero was notified of a sudden change in opponent. Now, the 32-year-old is set to take on current WBC titlist, Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs). The 38-year-old became the oldest bantamweight champion of all time recently, as he stopped former belt holder Nordine Oubaali just a few weeks ago.
With a future first-ballot Hall of Famer now standing directly in front of him, Casimero claims to be giving him his undivided attention. While he didn’t guarantee a win against him, as he did with Inoue, Casimero does believe that once he straps Donaire’s WBC title around his waist, a showdown against Inoue will be inevitable.
“I will do my best to win. Inoue, See you soon.”
Naoya Inoue Destroys Michael Dasmarinas
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.
Naoya Inoue Brutalizes, Then Stops Jason Moloney In Seven Rounds
By: Hans Themistode
Jason Moloney thought he had it all figured it out.
After coming up short in his first bid to win a world title back in 2018 against Emmanuel Rodriguez via split decision, the Australian born product believed that the loss actually turned him into a better fighter. Since then, he went on to win four straight contests, all before the final bell. So while the rest of the world believed that he had no chance against unified super bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue, Moloney (21-2, 18 KOs) was under the impression that he had all of the tools necessary to get the job done.
With that being said, Moloney found out in the most painful of ways that he was flat out wrong.
Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) wasted no time in getting into the face of his opponent on the night. He pushed his man back and landed the sort of thudding shots that drew a reaction from Moloney each and every time. Not wanting to stay to much in retreat mode, Moloney began firing off a few hard shots of his own in the third round.
Inoue to his credit however, didn’t take a step back and instead, fought fire with fire.
The nonstop aggression by the three division titlist seemed endless as Moloney simply couldn’t uncork anything that deterred him from coming forward.
Realizing that meeting his man head on would only lead to a painful outcome, Moloney began fighting from the outside. The former title challenger bounced on his toes and attempted to box. The success however, was few and far between as he continued to take shots upstairs.
With the punishment mounting, Inoue threw his combinations together in the six round which ended with a left hook that sent his man flat on his back.
Moloney’s toughness though, wouldn’t allow him to stay there for too long as he managed to beat the count. As round seven came, Moloney felt it was time to take his shot. The Australian native let off right hand with all of his force behind him. Unfortunately for him however, so did Inoue, and his was much faster to the target.
Moloney took the shot and was subsequently dropped for the second time during their contest. He took a few seconds to breathe deeply before regaining himself. Yet, as he attempted to return to his feet, he fell back on the seat of his pants which forced the referee to step in and call a halt to their matchup.
With another victim left lying by the wayside, Inoue immediately turned his attention on another world title.
“If I had to choose one, it would be the winner of Oubaali and Donaire,” said Inoue following his victory. “I just want to see how far I can push myself in the ring.”