Why Naoya Inoue v John Riel Casimero is The Fight That Must Be Made at 118 Pounds
John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21 KOs) wants all the smoke at 118 pounds. On August 14, he defended the WBO world bantamweight title for the second time with a split decision win over former unified world junior featherweight champ Guillermo Rigondeaux at the Dignity Health Sports Park on Showtime. The 32-year-old from Ormoc City, Leyte, Philippines has his sights on fighting unified IBF/WBA ‘super’ world champion Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) and WBC world titlist Nonito Donaire. In particular, Casimero wants a piece of Inoue.
Following his victory over Rigondeaux, the WBO bantamweight title holder laid into the unified champ with a physical gesture and a verbal assault. Showtime asked Casimero about a match with the fighter known worldwide as “Monster”. The trash-talking Filipino responded by throwing a middle finger up at the camera and yelled, “fuck Naoya Inoue!”
At the post-fight presser with the boxing media, he expounded on his desire to go to war.
“I always called Naoya Inoue, but he’s scared of me, like Donaire. If he signs the contract, let’s do it, I’ll fight him.”
Casimero went on to say he’s willing to go to Japan to make it happen.
THE UNIFIED CHAMP REACTS
Inoue, ranked third in the 3KingsBoxing Top Ten fighter rankings, is usually respectful towards his contemporaries. That goes out the window when it comes to Casimero. The Japanese superstar watched the fight while doing commentary for local television in his homeland and witnessed the disrespectful gesture. He was not amused and responded on social media.
THE TIME IS NOW
Casimero has openly challenged Inoue ever since defeating Zolani Tete to capture the title in November of 2019. It’s obvious Inoue is chomping at the bit to go to war against the Filipino. So, will a fight between the two ever happen?
They were supposed to fight on April 25, 2020 in Las Vegas on ESPN/Top Rank. However, the bout was postponed due to the sport being put on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. What has been frustrating is the zero attempts to make the fight happen again since. Inoue went on to score wins over Jason Moloney and Michael Dasmarinas. Casimero subsequently has defeated Duke Micah then Rigondeaux.
Noise is growing louder from hardcore fans for an Inoue-Casimero showdown. It would not only be a unification fight for three of the four major sanctioning world titles at 118, but a legit grudge match.
If it took place in Japan, the live gate would be massive. Were it to happen in the United States on either ESPN or even Showtime, the television ratings would be respectable.
Can you imagine the prefight hype with Casimero constantly taunting Inoue? Both men are aggressive and can punch. On paper, it’s a contest almost guaranteed to bring fireworks. In short, the fight is hot. All parties involved need to come together, strike while the iron is hot, and make this a reality ASAP.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.