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Who is Michael Dasmarinas, Naoya Inoue’s next opponent and mandatory challenger?

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Michael Dasmarinas may not be well-known to most fans, but he’s got a life-changing opportunity against Naoya Inoue coming.

Roar of Singapore V - The Kings of Lion City: Fight Night Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

We boxing fans can’t do much more than hope that when guys who get mandatory title shots step in with champs, as Michael Dasmarinas will against Naoya Inoue soon, they are equipped to perform at a high level.

I have not seen the Filipino Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20 KO) ply his trade, and I’m hoping he lives up to his nickname, “Hot and Spicy,” when he gets a crack at IBF bantamweight champion Inoue (20-0, 17 KO). “The Monster” will be heavily favored, and it is apparent that when you watch just 20 seconds of him on tape that he is a skilled tradesman.

Of late, I’ve gotten to a heightened level of dismay, at times tipping to disgust, at some of the shenanigans perpetrated by some sanctioning bodies. The WBA slid harder into the gutter when in the lead-up to the Jan. 29 Don King card in Florida, they announced to the boxing world that they will bloody well do as they please and not even pretend to care about the fight fans or their reputation or even pretending to operate with some institutional integrity.

Back to Dasmarinas; I hope the IBF’s placement of him atop their ratings proves justified when he is tasked with clashing against the Japanese ace. The Filipino was good enough to answer my questions sent to discern more about him, what makes him tick, and how he looks at this career-defining opportunity.

Before we delve into boxing matters, tell us please about your upbringing, your family.

I am a part of 11 brothers and sisters. My father is a farmer and my mother is a housewife. My parents raised me in a life where it’s very happy and simple in the province.

When and why did you start boxing?

I started boxing when I was nine years old, all because of watching the sport on our TV. My older brother was an amateur fighter and even my father was a boxer as well, so that’s why I wholeheartedly embrace the sport of boxing.

Do you remember the very first day in the gym?

Yes, I was very excited to see all the equipment in the gym, like the punching bag, speed ball, and other equipment that I hadn’t seen since I started boxing as an amateur. All I ever know and tried before were the mitts, a punching bag made of a sand bag and a speed rope. So I was very happy to try all of the equipment I hadn’t used before.

Did you take to boxing right away, did you know this would be your main pursuit?

When I was still in my amateur career, I did not commit myself to pursuing the pro ranks because all I ever wanted was to compete in the amateurs in our country and finish high school.

What fights have taught you the most?

As a pro boxer, I had two fights where I lost and I learned a lot from it. I remember my first loss was because I got carried away and I did not really check myself out. I lacked training and I was not really in a good condition before, but I chose to fight regardless. So now I am putting in the work like a champion does even if there’s no fight scheduled yet! Then my second loss happened in Africa due to a split decision. I learned that when you go out of your country and fight where the fighter is in his hometown, you have to make sure to knock the opponent out!

Inoue is very highly regarded. Do you have some ideas on how to fight him?

To beat Inoue, I have to make sure I am at least a level above him and fight with speed, power and precision. I am going out there to give him a good fight and win and I am putting in the necessary work to get that result!