WBA and IBF bantamweight champion Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue 20-0 (17) will be looking to keep his undefeated streak alive when he takes on mandatory challenger Michael ‘Hot and Spicy’ Dasmarinas 30-2-1 (20) at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
The Japanese superstar and Ring magazine No.2 pound-for-pound boxer will be making his second straight appearance in the United States following his seventh-round knockout victory over tough Australian Jason ‘Mayhem’ Moloney 21-2 (18) in Las Vegas last November.
The 28-year-old unified the IBF and WBA belts with a hard-fought victory over evergreen veteran Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire 41-6 (27) in the final of the World Boxing Super Series in November 2019. That win looks even better now with Donaire, 38, dominating previously undefeated WBC 118-pound champion Nordine Oubaali 17-1 (12) en route to a fourth-round knockout last month.
Inoue now wants a rematch with Donaire and a fight against WBO boss John Riel Casimero 30-4 (21) to claim all the hardware in the bantamweight division.
“Basically, [becoming undisputed champion] means I’m the best in that weight class, the bantamweight division. To prove that, that’s why I’m going after all four belts,” Inoue said.
“I feel the expectations and I want to answer those expectations and I want to have a performance Saturday night to answer to those expectations.
“I’m very happy that the nickname ‘Monster’ comes before Naoya Inoue. I’m very happy and honoured and I’ve taken it in myself as far as ‘Monster’ in the United States as my name.”
Promoter Bob Arum from Top Rank welcomed Inoue back to Las Vegas and promised fireworks on Saturday night.
“Monster is back in the United States and he’s fighting a tough Filipino,” Arum said. “And I know from experience how tough Filipino fighters are. So this should be a very, very enjoyable fight. I can’t wait for Saturday night because the fists will be flying.”
Filipino southpaw Dasmarinas, 28, will be taking a big step up in class against Inoue but at 5-foot-7 he has a two-inch height advantage over the champion and carries a lethal left cross.
“I did everything I am supposed to do in training and I am prepared and I will do whatever it takes to give a good fight to Naoya Inoue,” Dasmarinas said.
“It was a long, hard wait [after winning the IBF title eliminator in March 2019], but patience and perseverance allowed me to get here. I am thankful to everyone that I’ve been given the chance to fight a great fighter in Naoya Inoue.
“America has to learn about my very hot and spicy punches!”