MANILA, Philippines — It won’t be WBO bantamweight champion JohnRiel Casimero battling super WBA/IBF titlist Naoya Inoue next but another Filipino who’s been waiting over a year for his chance of a lifetime. IBF No. 1 contender Michael Dasmariñas is in line for a crack at Inoue and MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons is negotiating the fight with Japanese promoter Akihiko Honda. If Inoue refuses to face Dasmariñas, he runs the risk of losing the IBF belt by default.
“The IBF mandatory defense has been due for a year,” said Gibbons. “Michael has waited a long time for his shot so he goes first. Casimero will do something big in the US around March or April. Showtime loves Casimero.” Dasmariñas, 28, hasn’t fought since halting Thailand’s Chatpayak Sithkopon in Valenzuela City in October last year but his manager Art Monis said he’s been hard at work in Bangar, La Union, since January. “May schedule sana sa San Fernando, La Union, March 16 pero naabutan ng lockdown so ‘di na natuloy,” said Monis. “Kaya doon siya sa training camp sa Bangar kasama nina (IBF minimumweight champion) Pedro (Taduran), Lito Dante at ibang boxers namin.”
Dasmariñas is maintaining a weight of 130 pounds and won’t find it difficult to trim down to the bantamweight limit of 118. He spars with featherweight Juanito Paredes and superfeatherweight Jufel Salina to stay sharp but Monis said once a schedule is confirmed with Inoue, a sparmate who fights like the Japanese will be brought in. Former IBF lightflyweight champion Tacy Macalos is Dasmariñas’ trainer. Monis said Dasmariñas and Taduran, both Bicolanos, are extremely disciplined. “Tagal na sila sa amin,” said Monis. “Wala silang reklamo, basta training lang.”
If Inoue insists to meet Dasmariñas in Japan, Monis said it will come down to whoever is able to land first. “Swertihan na lang kung sino unang makatama ng maganda,” he said. “Sabay ang plano namin kasi pag ‘di niya masaktan si Inoue, bubuntalin ka lalo. May lakas ka rin lang naman, kaya unahan lang ‘yan.” What Monis is wary of is the possibility of an extended quarantine if the fight is in Japan. “Maganda pa rin sana kung sa US ang laban,” he said. “Kung sa Japan at may quarantine, mahaba ‘yun matigil ang training at mabitin sa sparring at ‘di na maka-jogging so masira ang conditioning kagaya ng nangyari kay (Giemel) Magramo. Malaman kay Sir Sean kung saan ang laban, inaayos na raw, nakikipag-negotiate kay Mr. Honda.”
A southpaw, Dasmariñas once held the IBO bantamweight title and has a 30-2-1 record, with 20 KOs. Inoue, 27, is coming off a seventh round stoppage of Jason Moloney in Las Vegas last October and totes a record of 20-0, with 17 KOs. Casimero has repeatedly called out Inoue, mocking him as the Japanese “turtle,” but he’ll wait his turn to engage the “Monster” after Dasmariñas.
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