By Rene Bonsubre Jr – Major sporting events throughout the planet are put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. One of boxing’s highly anticipated unification contests between bantamweights John Riel Casimero and Naoya Inoue was supposed to be held last weekend in Las Vegas.
The 31 year old Casimero (29-4,20KO’s),from the Philippines, set up his training camp in the U.S. last February .But when the coronavirus started to spread , the fight had to be put on hold. He moved from Miami to Las Vegas and still continues to train. The 27 year old Inoue (19-0,16KO’s), a.k.a. the Monster, is back in his home country of Japan also maintaining his readiness.
The fight will involve three world title belts.Casimero holds the WBO crown while Inoue has the WBA and IBF belts.
Casimero has been more visible on English language social media with his “monster hunting” taunts. But a few days ago, Promoter Bob Arum gave the option that Casimero could be facing the WBO number one contender Joshua Greer (22-1-1,12KO’s) of the United States.
Sean Gibbons, the president of MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions,the company that promotes Casimero, was then quoted by Philippine media saying the Casimero-Inoue fight is still a go and will happen in July.
In a short chat with this writer, Casimero said that he is still training for Inoue and the fight will be in July.
“I want the Inoue fight,”Casimero stated, “Sean (Gibbons) told me we will be fighting in July. Don’t believe the video blogs saying that I will be fighting someone else, they’re just gimmicks.”
“I am training non-stop,” he added.
Despite winning three world title belts in his tumultuous career, Casimero knows Inoue will be his most dangerous opponent. In fact, the Filipino is the betting underdog in this mega-fight. Inoue also has three division titles on his resume. He had a career-best performance in his last bout when he beat the legendary Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire in the WBSS Bantamweight finals.
Casimero’s upset third round stoppage of South African Zolani Tete came at the heels of Inoue’s 2019 Fight of the Year against Donaire with Casimero immediately calling out Inoue after the fight.
For the meantime, with community quarantine and social distancing becoming the new normal, fight fans will have to wait a little longer for this fight to happen. In the Philippines, all boxing shows are put on hold.
Casimero has a message for his fellow Filipinos who are waiting for the lifting of restrictions. “To all my countrymen, just follow the rules set by the government. This is for all our health and safety. God Bless.”