Don’t mess with The Monster.
Naoya Inoue made sure everyone in Las Vegas knew why he carries that nickname Saturday night when he destroyed Michael Dasmarinas in the third round.
Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) dropped Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20 KOs) in the second round with a body shot, then followed it up with two more brutal knockdowns in the third. After the third knockdown, with Dasmarinas screaming out in pain, the referee called a stop to the fight.
Inoue’s win served as the main event of a Top Rank card from Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. He successfully defended his WBA and IBF world titles with his quick win over Dasmarinas, who was overmatched from the start.
Inoue, of Japan, was excited to fight in front of a crowd in Las Vegas.
“It’s a little bit different from Japan,” he said. “But I feel that it was more festive here, with the crowd.”
It was a routine performance for Inoue, who will hope to meet the winner of the bantamweight unification fight between Nonito Donaire and John Riel Casimero, officially announced Saturday. Inoue, who beat Donaire in 2019’s fight of the year, said after the fight that he hopes to move up the pound-for-pound rankings as he fights better opponents.
“It’s the opponent that I’ll be fighting,” he said through a translator. “More quality opponents. And basically as we go to the unification of the titles, that should bring me up in the rankings.”
After winning her first world title with no fans in attendance, everything went smoothly for Mikaela Mayer Saturday night in her first defense in the co-main event.
Mayer, an undefeated champion and the lone woman signed by Top Rank, was rocked in the second round by Erica Farias (26-5, 10 KOs) but took control as the fight went on and eventually took a unanimous decision by scores of 98-92, 98-92 and 97-93.
Mayer had to overcome early adversity, though. Farias was game, but Mayer (15-0, 5 KOs) figured out her timing and repeatedly connected with combinations, keeping the Argentinian on the outside for most of the fight. Farias did time Mayer with a check left hook a couple times, but she didn’t land consistently enough to win rounds.
Mayer was making the first defense of her WBO junior lightweight world title, which she won in October against Ewa Brodnicka. With a title defense under her belt, she is set up for unification fights with other titleholders in the 130-pound division.
In a highly entertaining fight that kicked off the main card, Isaac Dogboe earned a hard-fought majority decision win over Adam Lopez.
Dogboe (22-2, 15 KOs) got off to a strong start, taking the fight to Lopez and consistently finding ways to get on the inside and land power shots. He racked up an early lead on the scorecards, and it looked like he might run away with the fight.
But Lopez had other ideas. The Glendale, California, native abandoned his strategy and looked to engage in a brawl with Dogboe. That led to a war that had the crowd going crazy, and he had Dogboe rocked and stuck against the ropes late in the fight.
Still, Dogboe got the nod by scores of 95-95, 97-93 and 96-94.
Dogboe, a former titlist at junior featherweight, was fighting at 126 pounds for the second time. After consecutive losses to Emanuel Navarrete, he moved up to the featherweight division and is now entrenched as a contender in the division.