By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Ultimate WBSS tournament winner, unbeaten WBA/IBF bantamweight champion Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs), Japan, participated in a press conference today (Friday) in Tokyo to publicly announce his next defense with WBO titleholder John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs), Philippines, in a unification bout in Las Vegas on April 25.
Naoya, accompanied by his manager/promoter Hideyuki Ohashi (former WBC/WBA 105-pound champ) and his trainer/father Shingo, jubilantly said, “I’m happy to be able to engage in a unification bout with Casimero with our three world belts on the line. This will be the first for a Japanese boxer to win three world belts if victorious. I plan to enter the US three weeks before to be in tip-top shape on the fight day.”
Naoya also said on his title bout at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, “This is also my first engagement after executing a promotional contract with Top Rank, and I am eager and excited to show a great performance before worldwide fight fans. (On Casimero) He is an aggressive and hard-punching boxer, who is dangerous and wild enough. I wish to carefully watch his strategy and strength as well.”
When asked about his optical injury that he suffered in his showdown with Nonito Donaire last November, Inoue, four years his junior at 26, replied, “I have already started sparring, and I’ve no problem in my right eye. I’ve completely recovered from the unexpected injury.”
Along with WBA middleweight champ Ryota Murata, Naoya Inoue is our national hero who is vastly talented enough to be an international star and attraction. Gambatte (Good luck)!