Casimero calls on Inoue after demolition of Tete
MANILA, Philippines – When Johnriel Casimero is in prime form, he’s a wrecking ball.
Highly touted South African Zolani Tete found this out on Saturday, November 30 (Sunday, December 1, Philippine time), when the Filipino road warrior stopped him in 3 rounds to snatch the World Boxing Organization bantamweight crown at Arena Birmingham in England.
Giving up 5 inches in height and 8 inches in reach, Casimero, the clear underdog before the fight, spent the first two rounds scaling the distance and timing Tete’s movements.
Casimero, the pride of Ormoc, Leyte, found a hole midway of the 3rd, sneaking in a cracking right to the temple which staggered Tete, and followed it up with another right that sent his stunned opponent down.
Though Tete’s legs were clearly wobbly even after the mandatory 8 count, referee Steve Gray allowed the fight to proceed. Casimero wasted no time going for the kill, cornering Tete, landing more power shots that forced Gray to call a halt at the 2:14 mark.
It was the fifth straight stoppage win for Casimero, raising his record to 29-4 with 20 knockouts and paving the way for a possible unification bout against Japanese superstar Naoya ”Monster” Inoue next year.
“Give me Inoue,” Casimero said in the post-fight interview. “Come on Inoue, Monster, come with me!”
That mouth-watering duel might take a little longer to happen, however, as Inoue suffered a broken nose and an orbital fracture in his World Boxing Super Series title victory over Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire, on November 7 in Japan, needing more time before returning to the ring.
International matchmaker Sean Gibbons, the president of MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions, made it clear Inoue would be Casimero’s next target if ever he gets past Tete, who dropped to 28-4 with 21 knockouts.
According to Gibbons, who flew to London last week to oversee Casimero’s last week of preparations, Inoue’s style suits his prized fighter well and swears by Casimero’s punching power, citing Tete’s annihilation as example.
Gibbons said Casimero has fought for titles in 7 countries, but has never seen action in Japan, where Inoue is a national idol.
After Casimero barely made weight before knocking out Mexican Cesar Ramirez in Manila on August 24, Gibbons and chief trainer Nonoy Neri made sure there will be no hitches this time as Casimero, under the guidance of Memo Heredia, checked in at 117.25 pounds against Tete’s 116.5.
In claiming the 118-pound belt, the 30-year-old Casimero, the former 108 and 112-pound king, thus joined the elite roster of eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, now his main benefactor, Donaire, and Donnie Nietes as multiple Filipino world titlists. – Rappler.com