Filipino boxers

Casimero promises KO, Rigondeaux calls him clown

Roy Luarca
Casimero promises KO, Rigondeaux calls him clown

KNOCKOUT ARTIST. Johnriel Casimero is confident of his ability to stop Guillermo Rigondeaux.

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Johnriel Casimero vows to add Guillermo Rigondeaux to his long list of knockout victims as he defends his WBO bantamweight belt

Johnriel Casimero reiterated Guillermo Rigondeaux won’t last three rounds and is headed to retirement.

Rigondeaux called Casimero a clown, made a slit neck motion, then touched the Filipino’s World Boxing Organization bantamweight belt.

After the display of animosity, however, Casimero and Rigondeaux smiled at each other and shook hands before they went down the makeshift stage at the Hyatt Regency LAX Ballroom on Thursday, August 12 (Friday, August 13, Manila time).

The final press conference of their title tussle on Saturday, August 14 (Sunday, August 15, Philippine time), at the Dignity Health & Sports Park in Carson, California is over.

It was their first meeting and the 5-foot-4 Casimero was surprised to find out Rigondeaux was barely taller than him.

Later, they obliged for interviews, with Casimero sticking to his words that the touted Cuban, a two-time Olympic and two-time world amateur champion, would fall early in their 12-rounder.

Casimero (30-4, 21 knockouts) believes his hard work in training, first under Jorge Capetillo in Las Vegas, and for the last month under Nonoy Neri here, would lead to his seventh straight knockout victory.

“I want to show the world [that I’m able] to knock him out,” said Casimero, urging Rigondeaux not to run. “Don’t worry, it’s going to be your last fight.”

“You’re next.”

The 40-year-old Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 knockouts) laughed off Casimero’s threat.

“I’m tired of hearing this guy talk trash,” Rigondeaux said in Spanish. They’re all clowns from the circus.”

“Who has this guy fought?” Rigondeaux asked, whose victims include four-division world champion Nonito Donaire and Drian Francisco and whose lone loss was dealt by former pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko.

“Let’s see what happens on Saturday. He’s got serious problems for he’ll be facing the devil,” Rigondeaux warned.

According to Neri, Casimero is really bent on knocking out Rigondeaux and sending the Cuban into retirement.

“He (Casimero) has gotten even stronger than when I trained him for the (Zolani) Tete fight,” said Neri, one of Manny Pacquiao’s training assistants.

“We’ll try to get him in the early rounds.”

It’s hunting time for Casimero, but Rigondeaux may prove to be elusive prey. –