On June 19th we'll see Japanese star Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) return to the ring for his first bout of 2021 as he defends his IBF and WBA "super" titles at Bantamweight, and takes on IBF mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20) in Las Vegas. For Inoue this bout serves as his third defense of the unified titles, and sees him look to extend an excellent reign that included winning the WBSS final in 2019 and scoring a fantastic win over Jason Moloney last year. On the other hand the bout also serves as Dasmarinas's first world title bout, outside of IBO "world" title fights, and his US debut, making a huge fight for both men and one that could set the winner up for a massive fight at the end of 2021 against John Riel Casimero or Nonito Donaire.
Coming in to the bout it's fair to say the "Monster" will be close to an unbackable favourite, but is he going to have things all his own way? Or can Dasmarinas manage to ruffle a few feathers and score one of the biggest upsets of 2021? Lets take a look at the fighters and how we see this one going.
It's fair to say that Naoya Inoue is almost universally regarded as one of the best fighters on the planet. The 28 year old is already a 3 weight world champion, having won titles at 108lbs, 112lbs and 118lbs, and he has scored some brilliant wins already during his career. Victories over the likes of Ryoichi Taguchi, Adrian Hernandez, Omar Andres Narvaez, Kohei Kono, Jamie McDonnell, Juan Carlos Payano, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Nonito Donaire have seen many regard him, in just 20 bouts, as the greatest Japanese boxer of all time. Whilst others might feel Fighting Harada still outshines him, there really is many others in Japan's long and stories history that match up favourable against the "Monster".
In the ring Inoue lives up to the "Monster" tag that he's been dubbed with for years now. He's a huge puncher, with freakish physical strength, an ungodly amount of power in his punches, great movement, stupidly impressive timing, and criminally under-rated boxing skills. When many look at Inoue they see a power puncher, but the reality is that he's an intelligent boxer-puncher, who sets shots up perfectly, finds holes in opponents defenses and exploits them with his timing, speed, boxing brain and positioning. Staying with his offensive work he is also one of, if not the, best body puncher in the sport.
Not only is Inoue a great offensive fighter but he's also got solid defensive skills, and when he needs to he's also got a very impressive chin and a real ability to fight through adversity. In fact it's his ability to fight through adversity that takes him from a great fighter to an incredible one, and is something we've seen since his win over Yuki Sano, where he fought much of the bout one handed. We also, notably, saw it against Nonito Donaire, when he fought much of the bout with double vision and a fractured orbital. He has proven that when the going gets tough, he fights through it.
He is a scary fighter to face.
Dasmarinas on the other hand is much less well known, despite having debuted the same year as Inoue and fighting 13 bouts more than the Japanese star. Whilst part of that is down to what Inoue has done, winning world titles, winnings the WBSS and fighting around the globe, a lot is also down to what Dasmarinas hasn't done. And in reality Dasmarinas hasn't really done much, despite having more than 30 bouts to his name. His real crowning achievement was winning the IBO Bantamweight title in in 2018, when he knocked out Karim Guerfi in brutal fashion, but other than that there isn't too much to talk about on his record. If you want to go through the bones of his record the other notable wins results have been 2014 win over Hayato Kimura, a loss that same year to Lwandile Siyatha, a 2015 win over Jhaleel Payao, a 2018 draw with Manyo Plange and a 2019 win over Kenny Demecillo in an IBF world title eliminator. The reality is that there isn't a lot there.
Despite his record being thin Dasmarinas has shown plenty to like. His KO or Guerfi was a KO of the year contender in 2018, his wins against Payao and Demecillo showed that he was a capable fighter, his loss to Siyatha, a controversial one, showed that he could go into enemy territory and his bout with Plange, although a very lucky draw, showed he could take a shot and didn't stop trying. Sadly however those bouts also show one thing, he can be out boxed. In fact Guerfi made it look easy until he was tagged and Plange was really unfortunate not to get the win when he fought Dasmarinas. There was nothing about Dasmarinas' boxing that would worry any world class fighter. He has power, but lacks in terms of skills and often struggles to set that power up properly. Unfortunately Dasmarinas, due to his wait to get his mandatory title fight, has also seen him out of the ring for 20 months, something that will likely leaving him looking rusty and mess up his timing.
Despite being limited Dasmarinas does have some things going for him. He's a southpaw, always an advantage, and he's also notable taller than Inoue, by around 2" or 3", with a longer reach and natural size advantages. On paper this should be something that Dasmarinas backers are going to like, however we would dare say this is not an advantage against Inoue. He chews up southpaws and taller men. This was seen when he smashed Narvaez and Payano, both southpaws, and guys like Yoan Boyeaux and Jamie McDonnell, both much bigger men. His body shots are brutal and break down tall guys.
With history in mind we suspect that Dasmarinas's success will be very, very limited. Inoue will take a few moments to have a look at the Filipino, then begin to pressure him, going to his body, and look to land single, hard, powerful shots. Breaking down the Filipino.
Inoue has suggested he was wanting to break down Dasmarinas, but in all honesty we see the breaking down process being a quick, explosive process, rather than a slow one and wouldn't be surprised if this was over in 3 or 4 rounds. Against a Dasmarinas who has been more active then this, maybe, would have lasted longer, but with his inactivity, and with Inoue wanting to make a statement on his return to the US, this could be over very, very quickly.
Prediction - TKO4 Inoue
World Title Previews
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