Johnriel Casimero eyes sweep of bantamweight belts
MANILA, Philippines — One down, three more to go.
Raring to unify the bantamweight division, Johnriel Casimero now has his sights on the biggest name in the bantamweight division in Japanese Naoya Inoue after a three-round demolition of former titleholder Zolani Tete.
“I want to fight Inoue and know who’s the better fighter between us,” Casimero, the newly-minted three-division champion, said in Filipino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday at Amelie Hotel Manila.
The undefeated Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs), who has only fought twice outside Japan, is the current IBF and WBA champion in the 118-pound division.
“My goal is to get all four belts,” said Casimero.
That imminent showdown between the two could take place either in Las Vegas or Los Angeles after Inoue signed a fresh multi-year deal with Top Rank.
“I believe they want to introduce Inoue to the U.S. market that was the idea of signing with Bob Arum with top Rank. So I see the fight probably being in Las Vegas or Los Angeles,” said Sean Gibbons, Manny Pacquiao International Promotions president.
Gibbons sees the unification bout happening around April of next year, but the timetable will still depend on Inoue’s recovery from the facial injuries he sustained against a hard-earned decision over Filipino star Nonito Donaire last month.
Though Donaire lost, Gibbons said the slugfest exposed some weaknesses in Inoue’s defense.
“Nonito Donaire showed a lot of flaws in Inoue. Inoue is a great offensive fighter, but defensively, he has a lot of holes,” he pointed out.
“I believe that Casimero at his age, his experience, his power, his overall boxing skills, he’s what Nonito Donaire was seven years ago,” added Gibbons. “I really believe that he has the style and the power to take Inoue.”
Unbeaten Frenchman Nordine Oubaali holds the WBC title.
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