By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Former IBF junior flyweight and flyweight world champion John Riel Casimero of the Philippines made it known a couple of months ago that he would be seeking a third world title belt as a bantamweight. He is penned to fight for the WBO International title in the 118lb division this April 20 and a win will move him one step closer towards his dream.
The 30 year old Casimero (26-4,17KO’s) will face Ricardo Espinoza Franco (23-2,20KO’s), a young 21 year old Mexican, in Carson,California. This will be the first U.S. appearance for Casimero, who has seen action in eight different countries.
After a brief rest following his impressive sixth round TKO win against Japanese Kenya Yamashita at the Skydome in Quezon City, Casimero continued his training in the Philippines under Jhun Agrabio. Casimero has left the Philippines for the U.S. but Agrabio had to stay behind waiting for his visa.
“Casimero is still ten pounds over the limit but I am confident he can lose it before the official weigh-in,” Agrabio told this writer, “I already saw a video of his opponent and we trained so he can knock the guy out.”
Weight issues are nothing new to Casimero. In fact, when he faced Amnat Ruenroeng in their rematch in Beijing in 2016, both reached a point where they were too weak to stand in their effort to make weight. Casimero took Ruenroeng’s IBF flyweight title by fourth round TKO. Casimero also lost his IBF junior flyweight title at the scales in 2014. In between the weight problems, Casimero has given fans memorable action packed bouts. He is currently ranked number six by the WBO.
Two years ago, his plans to win a third world title got derailed when he lost to countryman Jonas Sultan by unanimous decision in an IBF junior bantamweight title eliminator held in Cebu City.
Casimero spent time in the United States last year, where he trained with Morris East, a Filipino former WBA world junior welterweight champ. He had one fight in Tijuana, Mexico, an easy second round TKO win over Jose Pech.
Franco will not be a pushover. He has a high KO percentage and holds the WBO Latino bantamweight title. He has seen action in the U.S. multiple times and he has never been stopped. His last bout was a tenth round knockout win over Panamanian Ricardo Nuñez.
The World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament is still ongoing and it would be interesting to see where Casimero will fit in all of this if he gets past Franco.
Photo- John Riel Casimero after winning his fight against Kenya Yamashita
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
DUBAI,UAE- The Emirates Golf Club in Dubai hosted a well-attended international fight card Friday with eleven bouts and two major ranking belts at stake. Interest in the sport of boxing is growing in this part of the world. Dubai is inhabited by a majority of expats, many of which come from countries where boxing has enjoyed a huge popularity.
The show billed as “The Fight-DXB Uncovered” was made possible by the partnership of Dubai’s Round 10 Boxing Club and MTK Global as well as ESPN AND Top Rank.
The local attraction was Majid Al-Naqbi, who beat Vladmir Lytkin, a Russian based in Thailand, by TKO in round four. This was Al-Naqbi’s professional debut. He stated in his post-fight ring interview that he is only the second in Dubai’s history to fight as a pro. He overpowered his Russian opponent, decked him in the final round and the referee had to step in to avoid further damage.
The lightweight Al-Naqbi was the main reason why Dubai royalty were in attendance. But he attracted boxing royalty as well, with former world champ “Prince” Naseem Hamed seated at ringside for the historic outdoor event.
The headline bout saw Dubai-based Nigerian Aliu Bamidele “Lucky Boy” Lasisi get off the canvas to score a grueling twelve round unanimous decision over Ricardo Blandon of Nicaragua.
Blandon knocked down Lasisi at the end of round three and Lasisi was also deducted a point for a head butt in round four. But Lasisi stormed back and dropped a fading Blandon in round ten to pull out a 114-111 win on all three cards and the vacant WBC International belt.
Lassisi is now 13-0,8KO’s. Blandon goes down to 10-2,6KO’s.
In the battle for the vacant WBO European featherweight crown, Irishman David Oliver Joyce (10-0, 8 KOs) kept his unbeaten record when he stopped Scotsman Stephen Tiffney (10-2, 4 KOs) in the seventh round.
For the rest of the action packed undercards – Dubai based Filipino expat Larry Abarra beat Ghanaian Raymond Commey by unanimous decision, Afghan Hassibulah Ahmadi got a split decision against Thai Manut Comput.
Kazakh Sultan Zaurbek was impressive and he caught China’s Chenghong Tao with a sneaky right to the jaw and knocked him out in the fifth, Uzbekistan featherweight Shakhobidin Zoirov, who captured a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, won his pro debut with a first round stoppage of Anthony Holt of Indonesia, Australian Mateo Tapia stopped Gaganpreet Sharma of India in the eighth round, Abilkahiyr Shegaliyev of Kazakhstan beat Trimuraz Abuladze of Georgia by TKO in the opening round, Saudi Arabian Zuhayr Al Qahtani won by unanimous decision over Indian Sk Saheb, and in a female boxing match, Armenian Anahit Aroyan beat Thai Nongnum Sor Praithong by unanimous verdict.
Dubai has hosted big events in the past. In 2013, at their World Trade Center, the first world male champion from China, Xiong Chaozhong, retain his WBC straweight title against Filipino Denver Cuello by majority decision.
But regular sanctioned pro cards have been few and far in between. In 2014 and 2015, ALA Promotions of the Philippines brought in their star boxers in a show packed by the Filipino workers living in Dubai. There were always rumors of Manny Pacquiao fighting in Dubai but it never happened.
Boxrec records show that there was only one Dubai fight card in 2018, none in 2017, with two small shows in 2016.
But now they have a local hero to root for in the person of Majid Al-Naqbi. And with the partnership of Dubai’s Round 10 Boxing Club and MTK Global, this could very ignite a boxing boom.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.