WBO CHAMPION. Johnriel Casimero displays his World Boxing Organization (WBO) belt he won via a third-round stoppage of Zolanie Tete of South Africa in Birmingham, England on November 30, 2019. Casimero set eyes on International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) champion Naoya Inoue of Japan. (Photo courtesy of PSA)

MANILA -- If ever a title fight between Johnriel Casimero and Naoya Inoue is penciled, the handler of the newly-crowned Filipino world boxing champion sees the bout being held in either Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

Manny Pacquiao International Promotions president Sean Gibbons believes a unification match between the Filipino and the unbeaten Japanese would be best suited to take place in the United States especially after Top Rank recently signed up the 26-year-old Inoue, nicknamed ‘Monster’, to a multi-year promotional deal.

Gibbons added Top Rank chairman Bob Arum would want to build a US market for Inoue, who has only fought twice outside of Japan.

“I believe they want to introduce Inoue to the US market that was the idea of signing with Bob Arum with Top Rank. So I see the fight probably being in Las Vegas or Los Angeles,” said Gibbons, who was with the 29-year-old Casimero in the last session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum for the year 2019 on Tuesday at the Amelie Hotel-Manila.

The MP Promotions executive is looking at a possible unification fight between two of the best bantamweights in the world today by April of 2020, although that still depends on how quickly Inoue recovers from the facial injuries he suffered in his last fight against Filipino Nonito Donaire Jr., including a fracture in his right eye socket (orbital bone).

The Japanese (19-0, 16 KOs), who’s being promoted by Hideyuki Ohashi, won the World Boxing Super Series tournament with a 12-round decision against Donaire but found himself in his toughest fight yet against the veteran Filipino.

Judging by the way Inoue had to battle his way to a hard-earned win against Donaire, Casimero, who was with sister Sherilyn and brother Jayson in the forum, definitely likes his chances against the Japanese.

“Gusto ko ng lumaban kay Inoue para magka-alaman na kung sino talaga ang magaling sa amin (I want to fight Inoue to determine who is the best),” he said in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

And he didn’t mince words about what his real target is.

“Gustung-gusto ko na apat na belt yung kunin ko (I want to get four belts),” said Casimero, who’s eyeing of unifying the entire 118-lb division.

Inoue currently owns the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) title belts, while the World Boxing Council (WBC) champion is Nordine Oubaali of France.

Casimero won the WBO belt last Nov. 30 in Birmingham, England following a third-round demolition of Zolanie Tete of South Africa.

Gibbons sees Casimero giving Inoue a good run for his money more than Donaire did.

“Nonito Donaire showed a lot of flaws in Inoue. Inoue is a great offensive fighter, but defensively, he has a lot of holes,” he pointed out.

“I believe that Casimero at his age, his experience, his power, his overall boxing skills, he’s what Nonito Donaire was seven years ago,” added Gibbons. “I really believe that he has the style and the power to take Inoue.” (PR)