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Naoya Inoue planning midyear return against IBF mandatory Michael Dasmarinas

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Dasmarinas has been Inoue’s mandatory challenger for nearly two years

Naoya Inoue v Jason Moloney Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Asian Boxing reports that IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue, whose brother Takuma claimed the OPBF title earlier today, has a planned opponent and time frame for his first bout of 2020. Per his promoters and others, “The Monster” will “likely” have a homecoming match against IBF mandatory Michael Dasmarinas, which Sankei Sports reports will happen “after the spring.”

The Philippines’ Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20 KO), who notably scored a monstrous one-punch knockout of Karim Gueri in 2018, secured top contender status with a decision over Kenny Demecillo the following March and stayed busy with a fifth-round finish of Artid Bamrungauea. Following the latter victory and Inoue’s (20-0, 17 KO) brutal war with Nonito Donaire in the WBSS finals, the IBF ordered the pair to fight.

Then Inoue’s doomed unification match with WBO champ John Riel Casimero and a global pandemic intervened.

This is basically as good a time as any for Inoue to get this out of the way; Nordine Oubaali’s COVID issues have left the WBC title situation a mess and Casimero has his eyes on a fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux. Ideally, they’ll be in a position to have fans when they finally re-book Inoue-Casimero or Inoue-Rigondeaux.