In Johnriel Casimero’s crosshairs: Sultan, Ancajas, then Srisaket
MANILA, Philippines – Outside of Nicaragua, there were probably few who were as disconsolate about Roman Gonzalez’s knockout loss this past weekend than Johnriel Casimero.
Gonzalez had been his white whale; the big money ticket out of obscurity he had hoped to cash in on in the red-hot junior bantamweight division. As he prepared for his IBF junior bantamweight elimination fight against Jonas Sultan, which would make him the number one contender for IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas, he laid out his road map.
“They're not really whom I'm preparing for. It's [Roman] Gonzalez whom I'm really preparing for. But I need to finish off both Jonas Sultan and Ancajas so I can make Gonzalez fight me,” said the two-division champion Casimero (24-3, 15 knockouts) shortly before Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai erased any doubt with a fourth-round knockout.
“Goodbye money na naman (once again),” Casimero said afterwards, before coming up with Plan B: “I think I'll fight the Thai.”
Casimero had been off-the-grid since vacating the IBF flyweight title last year after his first defense, a tenth-round technical knockout of Charlie Edwards 12 months ago. The 27-year-old will get his biggest domestic exposure in some time when he faces his compatriot Sultan (13-3, 9 KOs) this Saturday, September 16, at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.
The fight will be part of the Pinoy Pride 42 card headlined by the IBF junior flyweight champion Milan Melindo defending against South Africa’s Hekkie Budler, and though Casimero-Sultan goes on third from the top, it presages something which could be historic in its own right: the winner would be in line for the first all-Filipino world title fight since Pancho Villa defended his world flyweight title in 1925 against Clever Sencio at Wallace Field, Manila.
Casimero relishes the chance to be a part of history.
“I think it’s better, Filipino vs Filipino to fight for world titles. People will talk more about our fights,” said Casimero of Ormoc City.
Sultan, two years younger at 25, has a different view: “Maybe more fans will be disappointed if it will happen…because [one side is favoring] me and other [side] is for Ancajas,” said Sultan of Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte.
What the two fighters have in common is that they’ve both made their names on the road; Casimero has fought in 9 different countries in his 10-year career, defeating champions like Pedro Guevara, Amnat Ruenroeng, and Luis Lazarte. Sultan has fought lesser competition but has risen to contention with knockouts of Tatsuya Ikemizu in Japan and Makazole Tete in South Africa, and earlier this year knocked out former flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro in front of a pro-Jaro crowd in Rizal.
“I know I have a chance to win the fight. I can beat him with my different style,” Sultan said.
“It's my speed and I can fight with distance or a slugger like that. I can adjust my style with the style of Casimero.”
Casimero is likewise not intimidated by Sultan.
“No I don't think [Sultan is dangerous] ‘cause I know how Sultan fights. Maybe I am a dangerous fighter to him,” said Casimero. – Rappler.com