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Naoya Inoue's Top Rank Debut Versus Casimero; Likely 4/25 In Vegas

Naoya Inoue’s Top Rank debut is all but set. has learned that the unbeaten IBF/WBA bantamweight champion is going to box WBO 118-pound champ Johnriel Casimero in a title unification fight April 25 in Las Vegas. Inoue’s first fight with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. likely will be televised live on ESPN, but it’s still possible it’ll be offered on ESPN+, the network’s $5-per-month streaming service.

The bout between Japan’s Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) and the Philippines’ Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) could be held at Mandalay Bay Events Center, though the site is not yet set. An official announcement of the Inoue-Casimero match will be made in the coming weeks.


Arum’s company signed the hard-hitting Inoue to a multi-fight agreement after his action-packed, 12-round, unanimous-decision win over former four-division champion Nonito Donaire in the final of the World Boxing Super Series’ bantamweight tournament November 7 in Saitama, Japan. The Inoue-Donaire slugfest was voted “Fight of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America for 2019.

Casimero won the WBO bantamweight championship three weeks later by upsetting Zolani Tete (28-4, 21 KOs) in the third round of their November 30 fight in Birmingham, England. The 30-year-old Casimero, a former IBF flyweight and IBF/WBO light flyweight champion, dropped South Africa’s Tete twice in the third round before their scheduled 12-rounder was stopped by referee Steve Gray.

Fellow Filipino Manny Pacquiao’s company promotes Casimero.

Michael Dasmarinas and Nordine Oubaali also were considered as opponents for Inoue’s next fight.

The Philippines’ Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20 KOs) is the mandatory challenger for the 26-year-old Inoue’s IBF title, but Inoue was granted an exception so that he can partake in a championship unification fight versus Casimero. Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs) is headed for a mandatory defense of his WBC bantamweight championship against Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs), the No. 1 challenger for his title.

A purse bid for the Oubaali-Donaire fight is scheduled for Tuesday in the event that their handlers can’t work out a deal before then. The two sides were granted a one-week extension this past Tuesday so that they could continue negotiating.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by NORMNEALON on 01-23-2020

[QUOTE=Koba-Grozny;20343552]I'm not surprised, man, John Riel has looked like an absolute damn beast this year. Technically Naoya is the better fighter, but Casimero's flair and power are absolutely a danger to anyone.[/QUOTE] I also think that inoune lost a bit…

Comment by Citizen Koba on 01-23-2020

[QUOTE=NORMNEALON;20341767]I have this weird gut feeling that casimero is going to hurt inoune bad , and I dont know why. I would never make this pick but my gut is saying something to me . Inoune should do his thing…

Comment by Bestlefty on 01-23-2020

[QUOTE=Thraxox;20342047]Casimero has no technique in his punches. He has a good lunging straight right hand but he has no jab and is very wide with his punches while keeps on dropping his left hand. Inoue will piece him up inside…

Comment by Fangedgrowl on 01-23-2020

Monster's on the loose . Yes sir. this guy Casimero is tough though. Time to start making big fights down there in the lighter weights. Nery, Donaire, oubali, Inoue, Estrada, Casimero etc. Lets do this.

Comment by NORMNEALON on 01-23-2020

[QUOTE=BLASTER1;20342319]Maybe it's indegestion and you need to do a crap cause Inoue gonna put some hurt on Casimero. Show him why he P4P..[/QUOTE] Read my post , I agree , I've had gut feelings before and I don't pick them…

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