MANILA, Philippines – Johnriel Casimero is now in Las Vegas for the final push of his drive toward another world boxing crown.
The pride of Ormoc City and resident of Mandaue City, Cebu, will challenge South African Zolani Tete for the World Boxing Organization bantamweight title in London on November 24, a Sunday (Manila time).
Accompanied by chief trainer Nonoy Neri and assistant Lucas Sugar, Casimero flew out of Manila to Los Angeles on Friday, October 4, before proceeding to the glitzy city where they will be holed out for the next 6 weeks.
In his last fight on August 24, Casimero knocked out Mexican Cesar Ramirez in the tenth round at San Andres Sports Complex to retain the WBO interim championship and forge the title duel with Tete as mandatory challenger.
MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions, through its president Sean Gibbons, made a bid to stage the fight in the United States, but Tete’s British handlers won the bidding war.
The 30-year-old Casimero, however, is no stranger to London, having stopped Charlie Edwards of the United Kingdom at the O2 Arena there in 2016 to keep the International Boxing Federation flyweight title.
Casimero also held the IBF junior flyweight belt from 2012 to 2013 and has fought in China, Thailand, Mexico, Panama, and Nicaragua.
After struggling to make the 118-pound weight limit against Ramirez, Casimero promised not to encounter the same problem again by watching his diet.
On paper, the 31-year-old Tete holds the edge over Casimero, being 5 inches taller at 5-foot-9 and 8 inches longer in reach with a 6-foot wingspan.
While Casimero totes a 28-4 record with 19 knockouts, the southpaw Tete carries a better 28-3 slate with 21 KOs.
Tete was supposed to be Nonito Donaire’s opponent in the World Boxing Super Series in April, but withdrew after sustaining a shoulder injury.
In his last fight in October 2018, Tete won by unanimous decision over local icon Mikhail Aloyan, a two-time World Championships victor, in Russia. – Rappler.com