MANILA, Philippines — Filipino challenger Michael Dasmariñas goes for a major upset when he faces Japanese champion Naoya Inoue in a bantamweight world title fight on Sunday (Manila time) in Las Vegas.Dasmariñas and Inoue made weight Saturday, tipping the scales at 117.4 and 118 pounds, respectively.
The Bicolano southpaw is unfazed despite being a heavy underdog against the undefeated Inoue, who will defend his WBA (Super) and IBF belts.
Naoya Inoue Michael Dasmarinas
Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank
“Para sa mga fans ko diyan sa pilipinas, please support me. Prayers lang thankful na ako,” Dasmariñas said.
(For my fans in the Philippines, please support me. I’ll be thankful for just your prayers.)
“Bukas gagawin ko yung lahat ng makakaya ko sa laban. Gusto ko patunayan sa inyo na kahit underdog tayo lalaban tayo ng patayan.”
(I’ll do everything I can for tomorrow’s fight. I want to prove to all of you that I will fight to the death even though I’m the underdog.)
The 28-year-old Dasmariñas (30-2-1, 20 KOs) has not fought since October 2019 while Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) is coming off a seventh round knockout win over Jason Moloney eight months ago.
One of boxing’s pound-for-pound most entertaining fighters returns to the ring on Saturday night when WBA and IBF bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue defends his belts against Michael Dasmarinas (10 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Inoue has finished nine of his 10 most recent opponents. The lone fight where Inoue’s power did not carry him to a knockout victory was his 2019 Fight of the Year with Nonito Donaire. The win over Donaire looks even better in 2021 after Donaire knocked out Nordine Oubaali in May to win the WBC bantamweight title.
Inoue followed up his decision win over Donaire — which also won Inoue the World Boxing Super Series tournament — by knocking out Jason Moloney in the seventh round.
When the fighters step into the ring at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Dasmarinas will be a heavy underdog despite having not lost since 2014. In that stretch, Dasmarinas has gone 12-0-1, only two of his victories coming by decision.
The simple reality is that Dasmarinas’ opponents in that stretch have not been anywhere near Inoue’s level. That matters little, however, since Dasmarinas decisioned Kenny Demecillo in a March 2019 IBF title eliminator, securing this opportunity.
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This card also marks the return of Mikaela Mayer as she looks to make her first defense of the WBO super featherweight crown against Erica Anabella Farias. Mayer earned the crown last October with a win over Ewa Brodnicka, her first major title as a pro. The undefeated former Olympian carries an undefeated record into her first title defense against Farias, who has not fought since 2019 when she lost a rematch with Jessica McCaskill.
Below you can have a look at the fight card set for Saturday, with odds provided via William Hill Sportsbook.