We previously covered this fight as one of the most exciting matchups of the year. The hugely anticipated Bantamweight fight and incredibly interesting stylistic matchup has yet to be rescheduled, but both Casimero and Naoya Inoue have remained focused on each other
Inoue, who is stuck in Japan and still to make his debut under for Arum and Top Rank, has shown himself to be actively training through his social media channels. While there have been no confirmed reports that he is looking to other fights in the meantime, with the ongoing travel bans, if the Casimero fight fails to materialize before the end of the third quarter of 2020, Inoue will surely be looking to avoid ring rust at all costs.
Coming off such a high as his 2019 Fight of the Year against Nonito Donaire, Inoue will be looking to maintain and capitalize on his momentum, taking his top form straight into the Casimero matchup. With some reports that boxing might not be starting up in the US until the end of the third quarter of 2020, that could mark a full year for Inoue out of the ring.
Casimero meanwhile recently scored a sensational KO of World #9 Zolani Tete, also in November 2019. With Casimero also staring down the barrel of a full year out of the ring, he recently stated that he’s not interested in any tune-ups and wants to jump straight in with Naoya Inoue.
Despite the fact that Inoue and Casimero are both top-class athletes, with unparalleled knowledge of their abilities and skills, the fact remains that each man will be facing one of his most dangerous opponents to date. Inoue seems to have the edge here, but even for him, Casimero presents a very real threat. The threat to both men could be exacerbated by the slight loss in mental sharpness many fighters have reported after a lack of truly competitive rounds.
While both men will be running full camps against top-flight sparring partners, any great fighters have underestimated the benefit of tune-ups fights and foregone them at the wrong moment. The other tactical decision for both men will be not to risk an upset in a tune-up fight, as losing their belts would completely destroy the short-term chances of their fight happening. There are options for Inoue if he chooses to fight before meeting Casimero, as he still has the IBF mandatory challenger Michael ‘Hot and Spicy’ Dasmarinas. The Filipino Dasmarinas, is 30-2-1, 20 KO, and riding a 13 fight unbeaten streak.
Style-wise Dasmarinas and Casimero are very different, with Dasmarinas being a far more tactical and accurate boxer. Dasmarinas too has extremely fast and heavy hands, but uses them more sparingly than Casimero. He has a much wider stance, with a guard often falling somewhere between a classic basic guard and a Philly shell, leaving his lead hand further forward to match his wide stance. He is more prone to picking shots and outfighting than the more pressuring Casimero. Stylistically Dasmarinas won’t offer Inoue a stepping stone to Casimero, but it will allow him to stay busy, mentally sharp, and to take the IBF mandatory out.
Whatever happens for Inoue and Casiero individually before they meet, their bout will remain delayed until the US relaxes travel restrictions, allowing Inoue to travel in from Japan. John Riel Casimero, who arrived in Las Vegas way ahead of the originally scheduled bout on April 25th, never left the US and has remained in Las Vegas training hard for the fight.