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IBF orders Naoya Inoue to defend against Michael Dasmarinas

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Dasmarinas has been his mandatory challenger since March

Naoya Inoue v Nonito Donaire - WBSS Bantamweight Final Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Naoya Inoue’s unification ambitions might have to wait a bit. While the IBF/WBA bantamweight champ recuperates from the fractured orbital he suffered against Nonito Donaire, having just returned to the gym, the IBF has ordered him to face Donaire countryman and #1 contender Michael Dasmarinas. Should no deal be made, the purse bid will be held January 2nd.

“Hot and Spicy” Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20 KO) is undefeated in his last 13 bouts, the lone blemish a draw with Ghana’s Manyo Plange. He is, however, rather short on noteworthy scalps, boasting Karim Guerfi and Kenny Demecillo as his most prominent. It was enough to get him into everyone’s top 15 except the WBA’s, though, so what do I know.

Inoue (19-0, 16 KO), who doesn’t expect to return to action until the spring, could avoid this if he manages to secure his desired fight with WBO champ John Riel Casimero or get WBC kingpin Nordine Oubaali out of his own mandatory obligation, as per the IBF’s rules, “[a]ny unification bout, if approved by the Championships Committee, will take priority over the mandatory.” Then again, maybe a tune-up after an injury layoff wouldn’t be the worst idea.