Pinoy challenger Dasmariñas intent on unseating Japanese boxing champ amid odds

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 20 2021 12:38 AM

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Filipino world-title challenger Michael Dasmariñas faces immense odds when he takes on Japanese Naoya Inoue for two world bantamweight belts on Sunday (Manila time) in Las Vegas.

Both fighters made the 118-pound limit on the eve of their 12-round WBA-IBF bantamweight title clash.

The Camarines Sur-born Dasmariñas (30-2-1, 20 KOs) tipped the scales at 117.4 pounds, while Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) made it exactly at 118.

The fight, set at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, is the biggest in Dasmariñas' career and the Filipino is eager to prove in front of American fans he is capable of upsetting the Japanese superstar.

He earned the mandatory-challenger status via unanimous decision win over Kenny Demecillo in March 2019. 

"Gagawin natin ang lahat sa laban. Nag-training naman tayo kaya may chance manalo," Dasmariñas said. 

"I hope ipagkaloob sa atin (ang panalo). Basta ginawa ko ang lahat ng makakaya natin (sa training)."

Pinoy challenger Dasmariñas intent on unseating Japanese boxing champ amid odds 1
WBA and IBF bantamweight world champion Naoya Inoue of Japan poses with Michael Dasmariñas during the official weigh-in at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on June 18. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

The last time Dasmariñas fought was in October 2019, when he stopped Thailand's Artid Bamrungauea in 5 rounds.

Inoue, meanwhile, knocked out Australia's Jason Moloney in December 2020. Before that, he figured in a 12-round barnburner with Nonito Donaire, beating the Filipino star on points.

Timothy Bradley, a former Manny Pacquiao rival who now works as a fight analyst on ESPN, said: "I think Inoue is going to put a massive amount of pressure on Dasmariñas and put him on his back foot. But Dasmariñas is no pushover, and he's going to fight back -- he's tall, long and rangy." 

Inoue voiced his confidence Thursday about defending his IBF and WBA bantamweight world titles.

Acknowledged as one of the world's best pound-for-pound fighters, Inoue is unbeaten over 20 bouts with 17 wins by knockout and will look to continue his perfect record against the IBF first-ranked challenger.

"I hope to show all the techniques I've been practicing. I deliberately won't be going for a knockout, and will beat him by dominating the flow of the bout," Inoue told a press conference.

Inoue is wary of the threat posed by his southpaw counterpart, nonetheless, who has a 30-2 record, 20 of the wins coming with knockouts, with one draw.

"I think he's a really good guy. Boxers with those positive moods tend to be the ones who bare their fangs in the ring," Inoue said of Dasmarinas.

Inoue's latest win came on October 31 last year at MGM Grand Conference Center during his highly anticipated Vegas debut, but the seventh-round knockout of Australian challenger Moloney came behind closed doors to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"Finally I can have a bout before the Las Vegas crowd and I'm getting great pleasure from it," Inoue said.

Inoue is a 3-weight world champion having also become WBC light flyweight and WBO super flyweight champion earlier in his career.

Russell Mora (Nevada) will serve as referee.

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