Filipino bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero did not waste time calling out Japan's superstar Naoya "Monster" Inoue after dominating his challenger Duke Micah on Saturday in Connecticut (Sunday, Manila time).
"Duke Micah is strong. My prediction, I can KO him with one hit (but it didn't work)," said Casimero during the post-fight interview.
The proud Ormoc City native retained his WBO bantamweight strap and is willing to risk it against Inoue, who backed out from their supposed triple title bout.
"Inoue, you're no monster. You're a Japanese turtle. No monster," said Casimero. "Inoue is scared. You're next."
Casimero needed only 3 rounds to beat the erstwhile unbeaten Ghanaian, who made the mistake of going toe-to-toe against the 3-division champion.
The Filipino dug the body with vicious shots before winging a right hook that floored Micah in the second stanza.
The Ghanain barley survived the round, but was met with another heavy onslaught in the third from Casimero.
Another left to the body, followed with a right to the face shook Micah's knees, prompting the referee to step in and halt the bout.
"Duke shouldn't have been knocked out today. You (Inoue) should have been knocked out today," said Casimero, who did one-armed push ups after stopping Micah.
Sean Gibbons, chief of Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions, said Casimero's sentiments is understandable.
The Filipino has been staying in the US away from his family to train for their supposed April bout, but the Japanese allegedly took the easy way out.
"The champ's here, right here," said Gibbons.
"Inoue's the one who ran away. They picked Moloney, an easy target. Casimero's here for (Guillermo) Rigondeaux, for (Luis) Nery, for Inoue."
Casimero was initially pencilled to take on Inoue for the IBF, WBA and the Ring Magazine titles last April 25.
But the showdown was shelved because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Inoue later opted to face Moloney instead.