Casimero, Inoue avail of quality sparmates
MANILA, Philippines – In the buildup for their derailed bantamweight unification showdown, Johnriel Casimero and Naoya Inoue availed of the best sparring partners available.
Casimero, the World Boxing Organization champion, enlisted the services of unbeaten knockout artist Reymart Gaballo and prime prospect Mike Plana.
For his part, Naoya, the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association titlist, hired ‘Prince’ Albert Pagara, unscathed KJ Cataraja, and rising star Peter Apolinar.
These sparmates are so good it would not come as a surprise if one or even all of them would one day contend for the title or become world champion themselves.
While Inoue holds a monstrous 19-0 record with 16 knockouts, his partners aren’t far behind.
Pagara holds a 32-1 record with 23 knockouts and is ranked No.1 contender by the World Boxing Organization as a super bantam.
The 24-year-old Cataraja, who got his degree in criminology before concentrating anew on his ring career, totes an 11-0 card with 9 knockouts. Both Pagara, who has stopped his last 5 opponents, and Cataraja, who has stopped 7 of his last 8 victims, are with Ala Promotions.
Apolinar (11-1, with 8 KOs) is from Omega Boxing Gym.
The 23-year-old Gaballo, whose knockout percentage of 86.96 (23-0, 20 KOs) is even higher than Inoue’s 84.21%, dropping mainly because of the Japanese’ failure to stop Nonito Donaire in their unification bout last November 7 in Saitama, Japan, is ranked No. 1 challenger by the WBA.
Plania, also 23, boasts a 23-1 slate with 12 knockouts. Both Gaballo and Plania are with Sanman Promotions.
While they were able to spar with Casimero in Miami, Florida, for nearly a month before Casimero moved training camp to Los Angeles last Sunday, March 15. Gaballo and Plania stayed behind in Miami leaving trainer Nonoy Neri searching for new sparring partners.
Originally set Saturday, April 25 (Sunday, April 26, Philippine time) the Inoue-Casimero clash will be moved to a later date, either in May or until the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the Premier Boxing Champions and Top Rank Promotions to cancel all their cards slated March and April, passes by. – Rappler.com