Inoue announces Casimero bout for April 25 in Las Vegas

Two-belt bantamweight world titleholder Naoya Inoue is set to face John Riel Casimero in a unification bout on April 25 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Inoue appeared at a news conference in Tokyo on Friday to announce the fight, which will be broadcast on ESPN platforms.

Top Rank, which has an exclusive deal with ESPN, signed Inoue to a multi-year co-promotional deal in November to bring the Japanese superstar to the United States.

"I'm happy to be able to engage in a unification bout with Casimero with our three world belts on the line," Inoue said through a translator. "This will be the first for a Japanese boxer to win three world belts if victorious. I plan to enter the U.S. three weeks before to be in tip-top shape on the fight day. 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 (19-0, 16 KO's), 26, is ranked No. 2 on the FightNights pound-for-pound list, behind only Vasiliy Lomachenko. Inoue has also won world titles in three weight classes -- bantamweight, junior bantamweight, and junior flyweight. has won world titles in three weight class -- bantamweight, junior bantamweight and junior flyweight. "Monster" also unified two bantamweight belts on Nov. 7 in Saitama, Japan, in last year's Fight of the Year against former four-division titlist Nonito Donaire to win the World Boxing Super Series tournament.

Inoue, though, suffered a plethora of injuries during the bout, including a gash over his right eye, a fractured nose and a fractured orbital bone. However, he has since returned to the gym.

"I have already started sparring, and I've no problem in my right eye," said Inoue. "I've completely recovered from the unexpected injury."

Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs), 30, of the Philippines, who is promoted by Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions, like Inoue, has also won world titles in three divisions -- bantamweight, flyweight, and junior flyweight. also won world titles in three divisions -- bantamweight, flyweight and junior flyweight. He claimed the WBO bantamweight belt with a stunning third-round knockout of South Africa's Zolani Tete on Nov. 30 in Birmingham, England. His first defense will come against one of the world's best.

"He is an aggressive and hard-punching boxer, who is dangerous and wild enough," said Inoue, who will be making his fourth title defense at 118 pounds. "I wish to carefully watch his strategy and strength as well."

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