Dasmarinas ready to let fists fly
Michael Dasmarinas (third from left) with cornermen (from left) Ting Ariosa, Tacy Macalos and Art Monis
STAR/ File

Dasmarinas ready to let fists fly

Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The odds are overwhelmingly against Filipino challenger Michael Dasmarinas dethroning super WBA/IBF bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue in their scheduled 12-round double title fight at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas tonight (tomorrow morning, Manila time) but nobody’s ruling out an upset.

The betting line has installed Inoue a -2200 favorite, meaning a $2,200 wager will earn only $100, and Dasmarinas a +900 underdog or a $100 bet will bring in a whopping $900. It translates into a 95.7 percent probability that Inoue will retain his belts. Unfazed by the odds, Dasmarinas’ manager Art Monis said the Japanese, who’s known as The Monster, isn’t invulnerable. “Kasa lang at darating ang knockout, basta gawin ang ininsayo ni Michael, side to side, malikot, kumbinasyon, huwag mag-stay sa harap at kailangan suntok na tatama,” said Monis. “Gagawin ni Michael ang best niya na magkaroon ng big upset. Hindi aabot ng 12 rounds malamang. Gibaan ng mukha itong laban.”

Dasmarinas, the IBF No. 1 contender, arrived in Los Angeles with his team last May 31 and went through five sparring sessions at the Wild Card Gym. Each session, he took on three sparmates, two rounds apiece. Two of his sparmates were Rocco Santomauro and Scrappy Ramirez.  Monis will join former IBF lightflyweight champion Tacy Macalos and cutman Ting (Sugar) Ariosa in Dasmarinas’ corner for the fight.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said he expects fireworks and there’s no way the match will go the distance. “Michael’s coming to let his hands fly and so will Inoue,” he said. “There’ll be a knockout from somebody, I’m willing to bet my house on that. If it goes 12, it’ll be like a grand slam for Michael. I’ve got faith in Michael, he knows his way in the ring.  Inoue is easy to hit and Michael needs to box smart, not get into a toe-to-toe battle early. Win the little strategic battles to win the war. Anything can happen.”  For Dasmarinas, this is his once-in-a-lifetime chance to show his wares on the big stage. It’s his US debut but he’s fought thrice in Singapore and once each in China, South Africa and Japan, compiling a road record of 4-1-1. Overall, his record is 30-2-1, with 20 KOs and he’s unbeaten in his last 13 outings since 2014. The 5-7 southpaw from Camarines Sur once held the nondescript IBO bantamweight title and vowed to hold his own against the unbeaten Japanese who’s two inches shorter. The key is to stay away from Inoue’s strike zone. But if Dasmarinas can withstand Inoue’s power, he’ll be in a good position to give back what he takes.

Inoue suffered a fractured right orbital bone, a cut over the right eye and a broken nose in outpointing Nonito Donaire, his fourth Filipino victim, in Saitama in 2019. He showed up fully recovered from the injuries to halt Australian challenger Jason Moloney in his second US fight last October. His record is 20-0, with 17 KOs. Although Inoue and Dasmarinas turned pro in 2012 and they’re both 28, the Filipino has experience on his side with 13 more bouts. Russell Mora will be the referee for the fight with Patricia Morse-Jarman, Don Trella and Tim Cheatham the judges.

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