Much has been said about John Riel Casimero chasing Japanese star Naoya Inoue, or Inoue trying to fight another bantamweight champion.
But if there's one Filipino boxer who truly has the right to challenge Inoue for the IBF, WBA and The Ring Magazine bantamweight titles, that would be Michael Dasmariñas, IBF's No. 1 bantamweight contender and therefore the mandatory challenger.
"Over 1 year nang naghihintay itong si Dasmariñas na makalaban si Inoue," fight analyst Atty. Ed Tolentino said.
Dasmariñas, the IBO champion, won the IBF title shot by defeating compatriot Kenny Demecillo on points in a brutal slugfest back in March 2019.
Tolentino said Dasmariñas took a back seat when Casimero was set for a triple-title clash with Inoue when Casimero knocked out Zolene Tete for the WBO strap.
"Di naman natuloy [ang Casimero-Inoue]. So now, Dasmariñas is demanding the fight . . . Mandatory ito since March 2019," Tolentino said.
The word war between Casimero and Inoue's camp has become heated, especially after the Japanese backed out of their April fight.
Instead of fighting Casimero, Inoue fought and knocked out Australian Jason Moloney.
Making it even more complicated for Casimero was Bob Arum's pronouncement that he plans to include IBF junior bantam king Jerwin Ancajas into the equation.
"So iyan ang sitwasyon. Pinag-away away ni Arum ang mga Pilipino, tayo naman kumagat," said Tolentino.
"But Dasmariñas is the mandatory challenger."