The ‘Monster’ Naoya Inoue demolished IBF No.1 contender Michael Dasmarinas with a third-round body shot KO to cement his standing as one of boxing’s elite at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas resort on Saturday night.
The Japanese wonder was, once again, in imperious form, scoring three knockdowns, all with body blows, culminating in a wicked left hook to the liver that finished the fight. Filipino Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20 KOs) was never at the races.
WBA Super and IBF bantamweight champion Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) now hopes to fight the winner of the August 14 unification bout between old rival Nonito Donaire (WBC) and John Riel Casimero (WBO) later in the year.
“Against the number one ranked fighter, Dasmarinas, I think I had a great win,” said Inoue afterwards. “I prepare myself to knock them out, whether with a head shot or a body shot. I came prepared and to get a win by knockout is good for me.
“The first round, I just wanted to see what he had. It depended on how he came out, and after a little while, yeah, I thought I could get him out. Getting the win makes me smile, but to be able to fight the winner of Casimero and Donaire, that brings me another smile.”
After a relatively quiet opener, Inoue dropped an evasive Dasmarinas with a left hook to the body in the second before repeating the trick twice in the fateful third.
On the undercard, former WBO 122lbs champion Isaac Dogboe held off a stirring late rally by Californian Adam Lopez to snare a 10-round majority decision win and the NABF featherweight crown. Scores were 97-93, 96-94 and 95-95 in a pleasing rumble.
Dogboe (22-2, 15 KOs) started fast but was pegged back by a strong finish by Lopez (15-3, 6 KOs) that proved not quite enough to convince the judges. The former world champion impressed early with his body work and power-punching, but a ceaseless Lopez adjusted to almost pull out the win.
The smaller Ghanaian was rocked by uppercuts in testing eighth and ninth round skirmishes, but just about got over the line.
“I was pretty confident I’d get that decision because I controlled the fight for the first six rounds. I was posing too much and got a little too careless,” claimed Dogboe afterwards. “Every now and then, I stayed in the pocket a little too long and forced too much. But, listen, Adam is a great guy. He showed the pedigree. We promised it would be a firefight. It takes two to tango.
“A lot of people wrote me off after those [two] losses to [Emanuel] Navarrete and said I was overhyped. People like me, we don’t stay down forever. We get back up. I have to thank my team. They’re not just trainers, they are family. God wanted me to be there.”
Meanwhile, WBO 130lbs champion Mikaela Mayer (15-0, 5 KOs) successfully defended her belt for the first time, repelling tough, former two-division title holder Erica Farias (26-5, 10 KOs) over 10 rounds. Scores were 98-92 (twice) and 97-93.
The rangy champion’s greater vitality and skillset was the key. Her educated jab and right-hand work kept Farias at bay, marking up the Argentine around the right eye and bruising her forehead. Mayer’s crisper, cleaner combinations rattled Farias without ever threatening the stoppage.
The unbeaten American plans to unify with IBF champion Maïva Hamadouche later in 2021.
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.