Postponed Casimero fight still ‘certainly possible’ for Inoue
MANILA, Philippines — Undefeated Japanese champion Naoya Inoue could still return in the ring later this year after the COVID-19 pandemic derailed what would’ve been his Las Vegas debut in April.
In a report from BoxingScene.com, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said that Inoue’s handlers are expected to fly the reigning IBF and WBA world bantamweight champion to the United States some time in September.
Inoue’s flight to Las Vegas in September could pave the way for his debut in Sin City where he was supposed to take on WBO world bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero in a unification bout last April 25.
“We expect Inoue over here in September,” Arum said. “Talking to [Hideyuki] Ohashi, his manager, and Honda, his [other] promoter, they tell us that they’ll have him over in the United States in September. So, we’re looking to put him in a fight in September or October,” said Arum who is co-promoter of Inoue together with Akihiko Honda.
Arum said that with Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) being stuck in Las Vegas for several months now, rescheduling his bout against Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) could be taken care of.
“That is certainly possible,” said Arum. “That’s still out there. There’s no question about it.”
Although boxing events are still strictly limited to just the participants and the ones running the show, Arum hopes that audiences will slowly be allowed come October albeit in a limited capacity to maintain social distancing.
“By that time we’ll be able to do fights with limited audiences because his great value in the United States is that he has all of these Japanese high rollers that will come to his fights,” said Arum.
“Whether they live in the United States or they come from Japan, they follow him. So, we would do a fight with Inoue for maybe 2,000 or 2,500 people in a 15,000-seat arena, so we can get spacing, give them meals. As hard as we’ve worked on this first phase, that’s what I’ve directed my guys to start working on for the second phase, which is fights with limited audiences.”
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