Casimero punching power put to test vs Mexican Franco
MANILA, Philippines – Whether Johnriel “Quadro Alas” Casimero can carry his power further will be known on Saturday, April 20 (Sunday, April 21, Manila time) when he tackles Mexican power puncher Ricardo Espinosa Franco for the World Boxing Organization interim bantamweight crown at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Casimero, the former International Boxing Federation light flyweight and flyweight champion, is making his initial foray in the 118-pound division in the United States, and blocking his path is Franco, who has stopped his last 10 opponents.
Though the 30-year-old Casimero has also knocked out Mexican Jose Pech and Japanese Kenya Yamashita in his last two fights en route to a 26-4 record with 17 knockouts, ring pundits doubt whether he can do the same to the 21-year-old Franco (23-2 with 20 knockouts).
The 5-foot-7 Franco, the WBO Latino bantamweight titlist, is taller than Casimero by 3 inches and also holds a 3-inch reach advantage.
Their disparity in size was noticeable during the official weigh-in on Friday when Casimero checked in at a light 116.8 pounds against Franco’s 117. 8.
Franco is expected to put in more weight, while Casimero, following an unexpected loss to fellow Filipino Jonas Sultan in a super flyweight (115 pounds) title eliminator in 2017, can’t afford to get bloated as it would compromise his speed.
Following the last-minute denial of a US visa of his longtime trainer Jhun Agrabio, Casimero hooked up with former World Boxing Council junior flyweight king Rodel Mayol, who is based in Los Angeles and is slowly making his mark as a trainer.
Mayol expects a brawl as Franco has a come-forward style and throws a lot of punches, just like Casimero, who never backs down from toe-to-toe combat.
The Casimero-Franco 12-round bout will serve as chief support to the Danny Garcia-Adrian Granados welterweight tussle.
Garcia, a former two-division world champion who totes a 34-2 card with 20 knockouts, needs an impressive win over Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs) to stay in line for a title duel with World Boxing Association welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. – Rappler.com