By Mark Elezaj
Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (21-0, 17 KOs), the unified champion at 118 pounds, returned to the ring and lived up to his name tonight, completely demolishing Michael Desmarinas (30-3-1, 20 KO) with three body shot knockdowns, stopping him in the third round inside the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas.
It was a dominant performance from the start. Inoue chased Dasmarinas around the ring from the opening bell, sizing up his opponent before landing hard punches to the body.
In the second, Inoue scored a knockdown in the final minutes of round two, landing a left hook to the liver that caused Dasmarinas to fall to the canvas. He managed to beat the count and was in survival mode as Inoue continued to attack the body, landing more left hooks until the bell sounded.
Inoue continued to attack his opponent in the third round, dropping Dasmarinas a second time with a body shot. A few seconds later, Inoue landed a left hook that put him down again, causing referee Russell Mora to wave off the fight without a count.
According to Compubox stats, Inoue landed 38-of-112 total punches (34%), including 31-of-48 power punches (65%). Dasmarinas landed just 12-of-80 total punches (15%), including 10-of-40 power punches (25%).
“The first round, I just wanted to see what he had depending upon how he came out,” Inoue said. “After a while, I started to feel like I could knock him out” Inoue told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna.
“I prepare myself to knock them out, whether with a head shot or a body shot,” Inoue said. “I came prepared and to get a win by knockout is good for me.”
Promoter Bob Arum knows Inoues future looks bright moving forward.
“Naoya Inoue is a unique force of nature inside that ring,” Arum said. “Another incredible performance from ‘The Monster.’ We are seeing a great fighter at work here, and he is only going to get better.”
The victory tonight sets up Inoue up for a potential shot at becoming the undisputed champion at 118 pounds when he will likely face the winner of the Aug. 14 fight between Nonito Donaire and John Riel Casimero, who were both ringside.
“Getting the win gives me a smile but to be able to fight the winner of Casimero and Donaire, that brings me another smile, as well,” Inoue said.
When asked which fighter he prefers to face, Inoue could only smile.
“I think, dramatically, [my preference] would be Donaire II,” Inoue said.
He edged Donaire by decision back in their 2019 unification bout that garnered honors as fight of the year. Inoue suffered a broken nose and orbital bone in the fight and Donaire was able to get up from a body shot in the final round to close out the fight.
~ The Fighting Voice ~