It's fair to say that 2020 has not been the year any of us expected, or for that matter wanted. As fight fans we've seen a number of events postponed or cancelled, and we are still seeing a rather fluid situation in regards to scheduled events, with Top Rank having all sorts of issues with their special summer series of bouts.
Despite that boxing is starting to return and we are seeing bouts being scheduled, and organised, whilst others are in negotiations.
Earlier today we saw one man admit that he would still like to fit in 2 fights this year, despite the fact much of the year is gone.
That was unified Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], who took to social media to explain he wants fight twice in what remains of the year
Translating his tweet we get:
"Boxing shows are starting to take off one after another, so I wonder if it will be officially decided.
I want to play two games this year..."
Originally Inoue had been scheduled to defend his WBA and IBF titles in April against WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20). At the moment that bout is in flux, though could, potentially, take place September in the US.
If it does then we would expect Inoue back in Japan for a year ending card in December. Alternatively there is a chance that we could see things shifting, depending on the ability to get fans in arenas in both Japan and the US. It's hard to imagine Inoue Vs Casimero taking place in front of no fans, which could force those plans to change, potentially leading the bout being in Japan or being delayed to later in the year, or even pushing it, disappointingly, to 2021.
Given the issues Inoue had with his eye, following his hard fought WBSS final with Nonito Donaire the elongated rest period may, potentially, be a blessing in disguise for the "Monster", giving it additional time to heal. Saying that however he, like other top fighters, will obviously be desperate to get back in the ring as soon as they can.
This past Saturday we were all supposed to see the highly anticipated Bantamweight triple title unification bout between Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino puncher John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20). We were hoping to see the WBA "Super" and IBF titles of Inoue as well as the WBO title of Casimero all end up around the waist of one man. Sadly however the current global situation prevented that from happening.
Since that two different things have come out.
Firstly it appears likely that Casimero will returning to face Joshua Greer Jr (22-1-1, 12) next in a mandatory due to this whole situation. At the moment Casimero is in the US, and it seems likely that he will remain there for his next bout. Bob Arum, who would have promoted the Inoue Vs Casimero bout, appeared to suggest that Greer would be next for the Filipino.
On paper it's not an awful bout, given the whole situation, but in reality it would be a huge disappointment all things considered.
The other thing to come out is that Inoue has revealed he is still training in Japan. He told his fans that he's not impatient for his next bout, and is keeping sharp. He's quoted as telling fans not over worked or under-trained. He also mentioned that he was reducing contact with people.
Hideyuki Ohashi, who's in charge of the Ohashi gym in Japan, added that Inoue was still practicing and that the focus is still Casimero, but it appears they will be willing to look else where given the current issues affecting the planet.
The latest boxing causality of Coronavirus has been announced as the Bantamweight triple title unification bout between Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino puncher John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20), with Hideyuki Ohashi and Inoue both confirming the bout has been postponed, indefinitely.
The Ohashi gym stated
"Naoya Inoue has practiced thoroughly, but there is no help in this world situation. We will announce again when a new date is decided."
Whilst Inoue himself stating
"I'm sorry to all the fans who were looking forward to it. However, given the global situation, we have to make a decision to postpone it now. We will continue to prepare to defeat Casimero, because it has been postponed."
So whilst the bout, which was pencilled in for April 25th, is now postponed, it's clear that both Inoue and Ohashi will be looking to reschedule the contest, and it seems clear that bout will be their #1 priority when the situation improves.
Earlier today Japanese pay TV service WOWOW announced that they would be airing the much anticipated Bantamweight triple title unification bout between Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino puncher John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20) live!
The men, who clash to unify the WBA "Super", IBF and WBO titles, will be fighting in Las Vegas in one of the biggest Bantamweight bouts in years, and will see Inoue trying to build on 2019 Fight of the Year with Nonito Donaire, and will see Casimero looking to build on his upset win over Zolani Tete.
WOWOW have revealed their broadcast will begin at 11am local time on Sunday April 26th on their WOWOW Prime channel, whilst ESPN will be broadcasting in the US.
In the build up WOWOW will also show "Las Vegas decisive battle finally! "Naoya Inoue" Road to the Strongest Champion" which will be aired at 2PM local time on Sunday 29th of March.
Although it's yet to be confirmed it's expected that Fuji TV will then show the bout on tape delay for those without a WOWOW subscription. What also hasn't been confirmed is who the broadcast team will be, though suspicion is it will feature Ryota Murata who has often worked for WOWOW on their biggest recent broadcasts.
Just moments ago a press event in Japan took place to announce that the worst kept secret in boxing, was now official!
The event saw Japanese mega star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], the unified the IBF and WBA Bantamweight champion, announce his much talked about April 25th bout with WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20). Confirming that the venue for the event would be the Mandalay Bay.
At today's event Inoue stated "It's very exciting and I want to fight soon. It's meaningful for a three-group match. First in Las Vegas I want to clear it safely and move on to the next. " [Translated] He also went on to add "Las Vegas is the home of boxing and I'm proud to be the main event," [Translated]
He also went on to explain that he wanted to unify all 4 titles after this, and that this bout was a stepping stone to that.
In regards to Casimero, we saw Inoue explain " He is a wild fighter with the fierceness of a Filipino. He has a dangerous hard punch. I want to fight while paying attention to such a place." [Translated]
One interesting quote from Inoue regarded his reign at Super Flyweight, explaining "I originally wanted to play a unified match for Super Fly. I want to motivate such a matchmaking." [Translated] This wasn't particularly a surprise, given that Inoue called out other Super Flyweight champions, but it's nice to see his desire to unify has continued here and it's been a major focus of his signing with Top Rank.
From what we under-stand the hope was for Casimero to attend the event, but was unable to make it over due to visa issues,
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
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