Friday, June 02, 2023  |



John Riel Casimero calls out Naoya Inoue for unification fight: “Come on, Monster!”

Photo by Team Casimero
Fighters Network

Prior to the fight, John Riel Casimero didn’t want to entertain questions about a showdown with Naoya Inoue. Casimero had Zolani Tete in front of him in a fight that he was not favored to win.

After he handled the business at hand on Saturday night in Birmingham, England, sending the no. 1 rated bantamweight contender to the floor twice in round three to win the WBO title, Casimero had plenty to say about Inoue.

“The fight was just a tune-up for Inoue because it turned out to be an easy fight,” said the three-division champion Casimero (29-4, 20 knockouts) of Ormoc City, Leyte, Philippines, evoking laughter from his assistant trainer and translator Ting Ariaso. 

“I want to have a shot at Inoue.”

Casimero told commentator Steve Bunce the same thing earlier in the night at ringside, calling for the unbeaten RING/WBA/IBF bantamweight champion and pound for pound candidate from Yokohama, Japan.

“Next fight, Inoue!,” said the 30-year-old Casimero, with his gloves still on his hands. “Come on, Monster!”

Inoue acknowledged Casimero’s victory on Twitter, saying “I thought it would go longer…Thing are now going to get interesting…”

Sean Gibbons, who has matched Casimero for years, long before they reunited under MP Promotions, has long called for this fight, which could unify three of the division’s titles.

“I’m not talking because we want a payday, I’m talking because this is a bad mofo,” said Gibbons, who says he’ll continue to beat the drum for that fight when he heads to Japan on Sunday for the WBO Convention in Tokyo. “[Casimero] can punch, he can box, he’s got a chin. Bring Inoue and I’ll bet my house that this guy knocks Inoue out.”

Gibbons pointed out that Casimero had been practicing that same punch, a half right hook/uppercut that knocked down the southpaw Tete, every day with head trainer Nonoy Neri and Ariosa. He says that Inoue’s style would be easier to land a big shot against than Tete’s, which is what makes Gibbons confident of a victory.

Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) is rated no. 3 pound for pound by RING, and is coming off a tough win over Nonito Donaire Jr. earlier this month, in a fight where Inoue suffered an orbital bone fracture and a broken nose in the unanimous decision win.

Afterwards, Inoue announced that he was signing with Top Rank, and would be make his return to the United States in 2020.

“Inoue’s this badass that Bob Arum talks about, ‘he’s the monster, he’s the best at 118,’…but Casimero looked like more of a monster than anyone in that World Series of Boxing,” said Gibbons.

Japanese translations by Natasha Aiello

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].