John Riel Casimero: ‘I’m not afraid of Naoya Inoue, I hit harder than him’
By Sean Jones: John Riel Casimero made it clear during Wednesday’s news conference that he’s totally unafraid of IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue, and he’s looking forward to taking his two titles from him when they meet on April 25 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, in Las Vegas
Fresh off his 3rd round knockout victory over WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete on November 30 last year, Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) held a press conference earlier today in Manila to discuss his big fight with the 26-year-old Inoue on April 25. Inoue wasn’t at the press conference, so they had a cardboard replica of the Japanese fighter that Casimero posed with.
Naoya Inoue looking hard to beat
Inoue looked devastating in capturing his IBF and WBA 118-lb titles in stopping Jamie McDonnell in the 1st round and Emmanuel Rodriguez in the 2nd round. In Inoue’s last fight, he beat WBA Super World bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire by a gruelling 12 round unanimous decision last November in the World Boxing Super Series [WBSS] final to win the Ali Trophy in Saitama, Japan.
Inoue knocked Donaire, 37, down in the 11th round from a hard body shot. However, Inoue’s attempt to finish Donaire off was fruitless, as he was nailed with a couple of hard left hooks from the Filipino fighter when he made the mistake of trying to finish him.
Early on, Inoue was staggered after eating a big right hand from Donaire. Additionally, Inoue suffered a bad cut over his left eye, a fractured left orbital ride, and a broken nose. Inoue took a lot of punishment in getting the victory by the scores 116-111, 117-109, 114-113.
Casimero: ‘I hit harder than Inoue’
“I’m not afraid of anyone,” Casimero said at the news conference on Wednesday. “I feel like I’m the hardest hitter at 118 pounds. Inoue has this shock punch that he throws and I should be very careful, but I believe that I hit harder than him,” said Casimero.
The power between the two champions might be close enough to where it doesn’t matter which of them has a slight edge. It’s clear that if the hard hitting 30-year-old Filipino fighter Casimero is able to land his shots on Inoue, he’ll bust him up like Donaire did, and potentially stop him. However, it’s not easy to hit Inoue with shots.
Inoue is quite skilled defensively, and the only time he gets hit is when he’s going for the kill in his fights. That’s when he’s vulnerable, but in most cases his opponents are too badly hurt to take advantage of his lapse on defense.
The difference in hand speed could be Casimero’s undoing in this fight, as he’s considerably slower than ‘The Monster’ Inoue, and he may have a hard time landing without getting nailed by the Japanese star.
Casimero isn’t as fast as Donaire in the hand speed department, and he was a lot closer than Inoue. What Casimero has going for him is his mobility. He moves better than Inoue and Donaire, and that helps him stay out of the way of Inoue’s big shots.
Inoue might be vulnerable
“I don’t fear him,” said Casimero. “Anyone in my weight division, I’m open to fighting because I think I’m the strongest fighter at 118. Against Inoue, we’re still in the process of forming our game plan. We prepared really hard for the fight against Tete but that game plan was just for him.”
Against Tete, Casimero took advantage of him relaxing when he got in close in round 3. Casimero nailed Tete with a chopping shot to the side of his head that badly hurt. From there, Casimero finished Tete off in dropping him twice.
Casimero could spoil things for Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum if he destroys Inoue the same way he did Tete. Top Rank signed Inoue to a co-promotional deal recently, and they hope to turn him into a star in the U.S. However, for him to do that, he’ll need to beat the dangerous Casimero, and keep winning long enough for the American public to adopt him as one of their own.
Casimero is catching Inoue at the right time with him coming off a hard fight against Donaire.