Naoya Inoue makes his first appearance of 2021 this Saturday night as he puts his WBA (Super) and IBF Bantamweight crowns on the line against his IBF mandatory challenger, Michael Dasmarinas of the Philippines.
Inoue (20-0, KO17) needs little introduction, and the Japanese buzzsaw is a special talent that could well rule at many more weights than the three he has already conquered. He has further unification on his mind, but he must first take care of business against Dasmarinas this weekend in the immediate future.
After spells as a world champion at Light Flyweight and Super Flyweight, Inoue joined the Bantamweight division in style in May 2018 with a stunning one round stoppage of Jamie McDonnell in Japan to win the WBA title.
‘The Monster’ joined the World Boxing Super Series, and ruined Juan Carlos Payano inside a round in his quarter final, and then added the IBF and Ring Magazine belts to his collection with a second round knockout of Emmanuel Rodriguez in Glasgow.
The final against Nonito Donaire was expected to be a procession, but Inoue was gut and chin checked several times in a thrilling November 2019 classic, and the 28-year-old scored an eleventh round knockdown to clinch a win on the cards.
Inoue was last out in October 2020, knocking out Australia’s Jason Moloney in seven rounds. Donaire now owns the WBC belt, and Inoue has designs on that title, as well as John Riel Casimero’s WBO strap, with the Filipino taking on Guillermo Rigondeaux in August.
For now, Inoue must deal with his mandatory.
‘Hot and Spicy’ Dasmarinas (30-2-1, KO20), is in the position as number one contender as a result of a March 2019 points win against Kenny Demecillo, which served as an eliminator. He was last seen in October of the same year, stopping trial horse, Artid Bamrungauea in five rounds.
Dasmirinas has held the IBO bauble, knocking out three-time European champion, Karim Guerfi, in four in April 2018.
It’s a supremely tall order he faces against a man high up in most people’s pound for pound list this weekend.
Prediction: Inoue is quite simply a star, and it’s hard to make a case for Dasmarinas making a dent in the Japanese’s ambitions for undisputed greatness.
I think Naoya can close the show here well before halfway.
Mikaela Mayer (14-0, KO5) defends her WBO Super Featherweight title on the bill, with her maiden defence to be against Argentina’s Erica Farias (26-4, KO10), who has previously reigned as WBC champion at Lightweight and Super Lightweight.
Mayer won the belt in October 2020 with a landslide points win against Eva Brodnicka in Las Vegas, and she has been courting a meeting with WBC and IBO champion, Terri Harper, for some time.
Farias is coming off back-to-back spirited losses to Jessica McCaskill for her old WBC ten stone crown. Mayer should take this one on the cards, with Farias never previously stopped.
Isaac Dogboe (21-2, KO15) is also in action, and the former Super Bantamweight world champion meets Adam ‘Blunose’ Lopez (15-2, KO6), who puts his NABO Featherweight title on the line over ten.
Dogboe should have too much seasoning for the Californian, and can score a stoppage win in the second half of the contest.