Naoya Inoue isn’t just looking past Michael Dasmariñas, he’s looking at disposing of Johnriel Casimero and Nonito Donaire as well.
Interviewed during the break of the Shakur Stevenson-Jeremiah Nakathila fight last Saturday, June 12 (Sunday, June 13, Manila time), the Japanese fighter bared he intends to become a unified bantamweight champion.
And Inoue, the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation champion, can start by beating Dasmariñas, the mandatory challenger, on Saturday, June 19, at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.
Either Casimero, the World Boxing Organization champion, or Donaire, the World Boxing Council titlist, could be next in line depending on what Top Rank big boss Bob Arum decides.
“Right now, my motivation is to unify all four titles, so you have Casimero and Donaire. That is who I want to fight. That is my motivation for now,” said Inoue, the huge favorite over Dasmariñas.
The unbeaten Inoue (20-0, 17 knockouts), who arrived in Las Vegas from Tokyo on June 9, saw Stevenson (16-0, 8 KOs) dominate Nakathila (21-2, 17 KOs) to clinch the vacant interim WBO junior lightweight belt.
Whether he can do the same to Dasmariñas (30-2-1, 20 KOs) remains to be seen, but 95% of bettors believe Inoue will prevail and further bolster his pound-for-pound status.
Dasmariñas arrived ahead in the United States on May 31 and is in Los Angeles wrapping up his preparations for Inoue at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
Dasmariñas held his final sparring session last Friday, June 11, and his chief trainer Tacy Macalos and trainer Ting Ariosa believe he is ready to test Inoue’s mettle.
According to Art Monis, Dasmariñas’ manager, the focus will now be on maintaining Dasmariñas’ form and shedding the excess pounds.
Dasmariñas weighed 126 pounds last Saturday and is expected to hit the scales at exactly 118 in the official weigh-in on Friday, June 18. – Rappler.com