On 19th June 2021, Naoya Inoue beat Michael Dasmarinas in devastating fashion with a third-round knockout by brutal liver shots, defending his IBF and WBA World Bantamweight belts. This win absolutely cements him as the number 2, lb-for-lb boxer and now he needs to unify and become undisputed champion at 118-lbs. I don’t see anyone stopping him.
The difference in class was evident from the get go. Inoue, fighting his in his 21st professional fight, 16th world title fight and this being Dasmarinas’ 1st world title fight, Inoue was a complete veteran compared to Dasamrinas.
Perhaps the hardest puncher at bantamweight, Inoue was pawing with his jab, setting up straight rights and left hooks which both have one punch power.
Centre ring was in complete control for Inoue, efficiently moving around the ring and cutting off Dasmarinas, not allowing him to get in his bike.
With the first-round closing, Inoue was comfortable, stalking his prey and just looking for the opening to take full advantage of.
The second round starting, Inoue was walking through whatever Dasmarinas was trying to do, obviously not respecting the power the challenger had.
Later in the round, Inoue rips a left hook to the body, halting Dasmarinas and then goes to work, right and left and Dasmarinas is down. He looks confused as to how powerful Inoue is.
Dasmarinas survived the round but took a lot of punishment in the last minute of the round after the knockdown. Inoue was an absolute ‘monster’.
The writing was on the wall. Inoue was going for the kill as the third begun.
Starting fast and lethal, Inoue was moving in, ripping to the body, seeing a hole in Dasmarinas’ defences.
Looking incredibly comfortable, Inoue was treating this as a sparring session, bouncing around the ring and ripping straights and hooks when the openings came.
Cornering his opponent against the ropes, Inoue rips two huge left hooks to the body and sends Dasmarinas to the canvas. Somehow though he gets up. But not for long.
Inoue moves in again and with the same punch, sends Dasmarinas to the canvas and the referee waves off the fight.
There are levels the boxing game and Inoue is right at the peak. If people doubted this man a lb-for-lb top fighter, well there is no doubt about that anymore. It’d hard to make a case for anyone other than Canelo Alvarez to be ahead of him in the lb-for-lb rankings. The rest of the 118 division, in my opinion at least, won’t stand a chance.
Who’s Next – Winner of Nonito Donaire vs John Riel Casimero?
Recently, Nonito Donaire has stepped in to replace Guillermo Rigondeaux and unify his WBC Bantamweight title, which he recently gained from beating Nordine Oubaali, with John Riel Casimero’s WBO Bantamweight title. Rigondeaux has no injury but was given step aside money in order to for this unification to occur under the PBC umbrella.
Now, fighting on 14th August, the winner of this absolutely needs to fight Inoue to unify the four belts and become undisputed champion. Easy right?
Well, with Inoue signed with Top Rank and the other fight being under PBC, both promotions will likely not wish their fighter losing their belts to the other promotion.
In the past, Inoue was scheduled against Casimero but the Covid-19 pandemic forced that fight to be cancelled. Donaire and Inoue have also fought in the past to conclude the World Boxing Super Series in what was Ring Magazine’s 2019 fight of the year.
Both fights will draw in the fans and attention it deserves, but with Inoue being so good, I don’t see either fighter forcing him off the 118-lb and eventual lb-for-lb throne.