MANILA, Philippines – Johnriel Casimero was unable to make it to the official weigh-in on Friday, December 10, and was stricken out of his World Boxing Organization bantamweight title defense against Paul Butler of England in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Butler will be fighting two-time world bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko of Ghana instead on Saturday at the Coca-Cola Arena.
According to Casimero’s cutman Stephen Lunas, Casimero got struck down by viral gastritis Thursday night and couldn’t recover in time for the weigh-in of Probellum’s inaugural fight card.
Lunas, a registered nurse, posted on Facebook: “Viral gastritis sucks. But first and foremost the health of an athlete is more important than the sport itself. Get well soon champ Quadro Alas. Fight another day!”
In the Casimero Family vlog, Casimero was shown in the background lying in bed, using his mobile phone as his sister, Sherlyn, answers queries from both fans and bashers.
Casimero’s non-appearance in the weigh-in came amid reports he has problems trimming down to 118 pounds, although two days ago Team Casimero claimed he was just two pounds off the limit.
Agbeko’s name popped up after promoter Scott Patrick Farrell posted on Facebook that the fighter is “stepping in to fight Paul Butler tomorrow night on Probellum in Dubai” and they’re just “waiting to hear confirmation from the WBO if this will still be a world title fight.”
There’s no official word yet from the WBO whether Casimero has been stripped of his title. Knowledgeable sources, however, are leaning toward the Filipino’s disappearance from the champions’ roster. – Rappler.com