Naoya Inoue’s Top Rank debut is reportedly set, and it looks like a doozy. According to Mike Coppinger, Inoue and WBO champion John Riel Casimero have “agreed to terms” for a unification, “likely April 25 in Las Vegas.”
Bob Arum mentioned that date as Inoue’s (19-0, 16 KO) likely debut back in December; “The Monster” has been on the mend from the fractured orbital he suffered in his Fight of the Year against Nonito Donaire and only recently returned to training. The IBF had ordered him to face Michael Dasmarinas, who won a final eliminator in March, but the sanctioning body’s own rules stipulate that unification takes precedence.
That’s good for us, because this looks like an absolute banger. Casimero (29-4, 20 KO) is also a three-weight world champion, claiming titles at 108, 112, and 118, and absolutely smashed one of the world’s top bantamweights in Zolani Tete last November. “Quadro Alas,” who also owns knockout wins over Amnat Ruenroeng and Charlie Edwards, is a destructive, aggressive puncher who hasn’t been stopped since a 2011 loss to Moruti Mthalane and should be willing to slug it out with Japan’s most fearsome export.
Between the potential for ultraviolence and the lingering questions over how much damage Inoue sustained against Donaire, this is one to look forward to. Now let’s see if they can’t pit the winner of this against the winner of Nordine Oubaali vs. Nonito Donaire for undisputed status.