Naoya Inoue


Mikey Williams/Top Rank

According to a report from Dan Rafael of The Ring, unified Bantamweight champion Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) will next take on IBF mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20 KOs) on June 19 in Las Vegas. 

The fight will be broadcast live on ESPN in the United States. 

Originally, the plan was for Inoue, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, to next fight in his native Japan, but due to COVID-19 rules, the bout will now take place at a venue that has yet to be determined in Las Vegas. 

“The problem in Japan is that if you’re a foreigner and you go in, you got to do 14 days quarantine,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told The Ring. “So, no fighter can go in and do 14 days quarantine and get ready for a fight.”

This will mark Inoue’s third fight in the United States. 

In his most recent fight, the 27-year-old defended his 118-pound titles with a seventh-round stoppage victory over Jason Maloney on Oct. 31 in Las Vegas. Before that, he scored a unanimous decision victory over former champion Nonito Donaire in the Bantamweight final of the World Boxing Super Series in November 2019. Many considered the fight to be 2019’s “Fight of the Year”. 

Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Dasmarinas is 12-0-1 in his last 13 fights, although he hasn’t fought since knocking out Artid Bamrungauea in October 2019. Before that, he earned a unanimous decision victory over Kenny Demecillo in March 2019, which made him the IBF’s mandatory challenger. The Filipino fighter also owns a knockout win over Karim Guerfi in 2018. 

If Inoue can get by Dasmarinas, which he’ll be heavily favored to do, Arum is unsure of what lies ahead, although he admitted that a move up in weight is possible for “The Monster”.

“Who’s the big fight for him? I think he’s going to go up in weight,” Arum said while adding that it was not a concrete plan. 

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