WBA and IBF bantamweight champion Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue 19-0 (16) will face WBO titleholder John Riel Casimero 29-4 (20) in a unification bout at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on April 25.
The 26-year-old Japanese, who has won world championships in three different weight classes, claimed the Muhammad Ali trophy with his thrilling 12-round points win over Nonito Donaire in the final of the World Boxing Super Series in November.
A press conference was held in Tokyo on Friday to officially announce the fight.
“I’m happy to be able to engage in a unification bout with Casimero with our three world belts on the line,” Inoue said to Joe Koizumi of Fightnews.
“This will be the first for a Japanese boxer to win three world belts if victorious. I plan to enter the US three weeks before to be in tip-top shape on the fight day.”
Inoue, who recently signed a co-promotional deal with US behemoth Top Rank, will be having his first bout stateside since his sixth-round stoppage win over Antonio Nieves in September 2017.
“This is also my first engagement after executing a promotional contract with Top Rank, and I am eager and excited to show a great performance before worldwide fight fans,” Inoue said.
Casimero, 30, of the Philippines, impressively knocked out Zolani Tete in the third round to claim the WBO belt last November.
“He is an aggressive and hard-punching boxer, who is dangerous and wild enough. I wish to carefully watch his strategy and strength as well,” Inoue said.
The unified champion said he has already recovered from the eye injury he suffered in Donaire fight.
“I have already started sparring, and I’ve no problem in my right eye. I’ve completely recovered from the unexpected injury,” he said.