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Naoya Inoue battles John Riel Casimero on April 25 in Las Vegas, NV

Naoya Inoue

By Chris Williams: Japanese star Naoya Inoue announced earlier on Friday that he’ll be facing John Riel Casimero in a unification fight at 118 on April 25 in Las Vegas. The fight will reportedly be taking place at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Vegas rather than in the highly popular Inoue’s home country of Japan.

Inoue will have a big advantage in hand speed over Riel Casimero, and this could end quickly if the Japanese star is able to land one of his pinpoint head or body shots. However, Riel Casimero has a good chin, and he might make a fight of this.

The last thing Inoue needs is to be involved in another war like the one he had against Nonito Donaire. As good as Inoue is, he’s arguably not rugged enough to withstand a lot of heavy shots without falling apart physically. In other words, Inoue can dish it out, but he can’t take it.

Inoue’s timing is bad in taking this fight

The timing for Inoue to be fighting another puncher is bad. Inoue took a lot of punishment in his last fight against Nonito Donaire, and he suffered injuries in that fight to his face. It was thought by some that Inoue would stay out of the ring for at least eight months recovering from his facial injuries, a well as the punishment that took to the head from Donaire.

Inoue doesn’t care, and is ready to get back in there and face another knockout artist in Riel Casimero. Time will tell whether that was the right decision by the 26-year-old ‘Monster’ Inoue. If he’s still worn down from the tremendous shots that he ate in his fight with Donaire, we could see him get taken out by Riel Casimero, who is just as dangerous with his power.

IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) revealed the information at a news conference this morning that he’ll be taking on WBO 118-lb belt holder Riel Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) in a unification fight.
Inoue’s co-promoters at Top Rank Boxing are expected to make an official announcement of the Riel Casimero match soon, possibly as early as today.

With the news of the Inoue-Riel Casimero already being talked about, it’s important that Top Rank make it official sooner rather than later.

Riel Casimero obliterated Zolani Tete

The talented Riel Casimero recently scored a surprise third round knockout of WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete (28-4, 21 KOs) on November 30 in Birmingham, England. The 31-year-old Tete made the mistake of relaxing when Riel Casimero got in close, and he dropped by a short right hand to the side of the head.

Tete made a huge mistake against Riel Casimero

It’s clear that Tete didn’t realize how powerful Riel Casimero is at close range. He found out the hard way that you don’t relax when Riel Casimero is on the inside.

Once Riel Casimero had Tete hurt, he took full advantage of it by knocking him down a second time to score a quick knockout. Had the fight been allowed to continue, Tete would almost surely been laid out to the point where he couldn’t get up.

Tete was too hurt for him to survive against the powerful Riel Casimero.
Immediately after knocking out Tete, Riel Casimero called out Inoue, and let the boxing world know that he wanted to fight him next in a unification fight. To Inoue’s credit, he’s decided to give Riel Casimero that chance.

‘Monster’ Inoue may need to face Donaire again

Obviously this isn’t an entirely selfless move on Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue’s part, as he gets the chance to win another world title at 118. Inoue’s goal is to unify the bantamweight division entirely. That may not be easy if Donaire defeats WBC champion Nordine Ouabaali.

Those two are expected to fight soon, and Donaire has an excellent chance of defeating the 33-year-old Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs) to take his World Boxing Council bantamweight belt from him. With Donaire grabbing the WBC title, we could see a rematch between Inoue and him potentially later this year.

Considering how difficult the first fight was for Inoue, he might want to think hard before he makes the decision to face Donaire a second time. With Donaire’s power, it doesn’t matter how good Inoue is. That power alone that Donaire possesses could bring Inoue back down to earth.

For the first time in Inoue’s career, he found himself in a fight with a guy with even better punching power than himself, and he was falling apart like an old automobile going across a road full of potholes in the pavement.

Inoue making a fast turnaround

Needless to say, this is a fast turnaround for the injured Inoue, who suffered a broken nose and cracked eye ridge in his last fight against WBA bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire on November 7 in Saitama, Japan.

Although Inoue, 26, defeated the 37-year-old Donaire by a 12 round unanimous decision, it was a victory that didn’t come easy for the Japanese superstar. Inoue was staggered at one point, and his face was breaking apart from the impact of the heavy shots that the former four division world champion Donaire was throwing at him.

If not for Inoue dodging most of the big punches from Nonito, he likely would have been stopped just on facial injuries alone. Inoue’s face was getting broken apart by Donaire.

Fans want to see Inoue vs. Donaire rematch

A lot of boxing fans prefer to see a rematch between Inoue and Donaire, but the Japanese fighter and his promoters at Top Rank wisely chose not to do that. Inoue can’t afford too many more fights like the one he had with Donaire.

To be sure, Inoue’ boxing skills and power are second to none, but Donaire was putting a hurting on him. Top Rank boss Bob Arum has been saying how great Inoue is, but Donaire could bring him down to earth if given a second chance.

That could be bad for Arum, since he has visions of turning Inoue into a big star in the U.S. Donaire could spoil things for Arum if he’s given another shot to put hands on Inoue. Can Inoue’s face hold up under the power of Donaire in a second fight? This writer has his doubts.




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