Were just over an hour away from "Pinoy Pride 42 Clash for Glory" and the card has two really interesting match ups on it, with both of those bouts having been priced up for British Bettors.
The more significant of those bouts will see Milan Melindo (36-2, 13) defending his IBF Light Flyweight title against former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (31-2, 10). The defending champion is the clear favourite, but it seems like his issues at the weigh in yesterday have seen the odds close more than expected with Melindo being priced at 4/9. The champion, who won the title last time out, looked tremendous in his title win and has home advantage, which is worth noting given he has never lost in the Philippines. Budler on the other hand has been priced at 7/4, showing that whilst he is an under-dog, he is certainly seen as a live one, and there is real respect being shown to his career so far. Budler has never previously fought in Asia, and that could be an issue here for the challenger.
The other bout of note is an all Filipino clash between former 2-weight world champion John Riel Casimero (24-3, 15) and the under-rated Jonas Sultan (13-3, 9). On paper the bout looks like a straight forward win for Casimero, who is now chasing a third divisional weight title, and that seems to be the view of the bookmakers who have him best priced at 2/7. Sultan, who has impressed in recent fights with a string of notable wins, is a 3/1 under-dog and for fans who have seen Sultan's rise in recent times that could be a very attractive price.
Melindo takes on Budler in first defense, but can he come through the stiff test?
Former IBF Light Flyweight and Flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero (23-3, 15) has sadly been inactive since travelling to England last September and stopping Charlie Edwards in 10 rounds, to record his first and only defense of the Flyweight crown. Despite that inactivity Casimero has got big plans and is looking to become a 3-weight world champion in the near future, moving up to Super Flyweight to achieve the feat.
Today it was revealed, by Ryan Songalia of Rappler, that Casimero will return to the ring on June 25th, ending his 9 month break from the ring to take on former 3-time world title challenger Richie Mepranum (31-6-1, 8) with the bout to take place in Iligan City, Philippines.
For Casimero the bout will be his first as a fully fledged Super Flyweight and his and sees him fighting in the Philippines for the first time in over 3 years, following bouts in Thailand, China and the UK. Although talented he's joining a division full of wolves with the likes of Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Jerwin Ancajas, Juan Francisco Estrada, David Carmona, Kal Yafai, Sho Ishida and Carlos Cuadras all stacking up the talent rich division. Whilst it's clear his intention is to become a 3-weight champion there is no easy title to snatch and he's going to have to go through a top fighter to even got a shot at a belt.
For Mepranum the bout comes on the back of stoppage loisses to Carlos Cuadras and Luis Nery and although he has fought in a number of world title bouts you actually need to go back to 2010 to find a win of real note on his record,a decision win over the then 27-0 Hernan Marquez. Since that win Mepranum has gone 9-5 (3) with 4 stoppage defeats. Although far from a gate keeper Mepranum should serve as a good first test at 115lbs for Casimero.
If Casimero beats his countryman talk will begin among fans for a bout between Casimero and countryman Ancajas, the current IBF champion, that bout does however seem unlikely with Casimero's promoter suggesting their would be a lack of money in the bout, something that is currently plaguing the Filipino fight scene, with only ALA reall having any financial fire power right now, thanks to their high profile TV deal with ABS-CBN
Oh how quickly things can move in professional boxing circles.
Yesterday we reported that WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (20-1, 12) [井岡一翔] was in face to face either IBF Flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero (23-3, 15) or WBA interim champion Stamp Kiatniwat (15-0, 6) [แสตมป์ กระทิงแดงยิม] on New Year's Eve. Now, just a day later, the Thai's are reporting that a deal is now in place for Stamp to get the fight.
According to the Thai's the bout is now set for December 31st with the hunt for things like a venue now being one of the things left to sort.
Yesterday we reported that Ioka's next bout was unlikely to be held at the EDION Arena Osaka, in Osaka City. The venue has long been Ioka's boxing home but Hiroki Ioka has suggested maybe getting away from the City of Water, with suggestions now being that Ioka will be fighting in either Hyogo, the City of Lights, or even more interestingly Tokyo.
If the bout was in Tokyo it would be an interesting move from the Ioka team with the suggestion being that the show would go head-to-head with the Watanabe card headlined by Takashi Uchiyama, which would also be held in Tokyo. With two major shows in the capital on the same day we suspect ticket sales could be harmed but if enough fight fans were willing to travel from Osaka we may end up with the city totally taken over by boxing for the day, in what would be an interesting move. It would also open the door for Ioka to build a fan base in Tokyo.
Whilst it appears a deal with Stamp has been signed and sealed the pursuit for a venue will be interesting and that could be one of the more notable sub-stories in the lead up to the multiple announcements expected for the year ending Japanese shows between now and late November.
Yesterday we saw the announcement that IBF Flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero (22-3, 14) was indeed travelling to England as British promoter Eddie HJearn announced the Filipino would be facing the unbeaten Charlie Edwards (7-0, 3) in the first defense of his IBF Flyweight title. Today, just 24 hours later, the first set of odds for the bout were announced and they, understandably, made the experienced road warrior champion the betting favourite.
Casimero was priced at 8/13 to win the bout, a very tasty opening price considering his skilset, experience and proven ability to fight in front of a hostile crowd, as seen in his memorable win in Argentina against Luis Alberto Lazarte, when the arena famously rioted.
For the unbeaten Englishman the opening price to win was 5/4, a shockingly poor price given his massive step up in class and unproven professional experience, despite having formerly been a very good amateur.
For fans thinking of the draw the opening price on that is 20/1.
At the moment the only odds available are on the "To Win" market, but we expect to see more markets becoming available in the weeks leading to the fight.
For Casimero the bout will not only put him on a high profile card in Europe but will help him build on the success he had earlier this year, when he claimed the title with an unexpected stoppage win over Amnat Ruenroeng in Thailand. That win saw him become a 2-weight world champion and avenge a very controversial loss to Amnat last year.
For Edward's it's a chance to become the second "fastest" Brit to a world title, following in the footsteps of Paul Weir who claimed his first world title in his 6th bout before becoming a 2-weight champion in his 9th bout. It would also see him becoming one of the very few British fighters to claim a title at Flyweight, the last of which was Pat Clinton, who held the WBO title back in 1992-1993, and the third Brit to become the IBF Light Flyweight champion, following Duke McKenzie and Dave McAuley.
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