By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
John Riel Casimero (27-W-4L,18KO’s) will be making the first defense of his WBO interim world bantamweight title this August 24 on home soil. His opponent, Cesar Ramirez (18-3,11KO’s) will be fighting out of Mexico for only the second time in his career.
Casimero spent time in Manny Pacquiao’s training camp in Los Angeles when the Filipino senator was preparing for his fight against Keith Thurman. He was one of the many fighters and trainers joining Pacquiao in his now legendary roadwork and training regimen. There is a videos on youtube where Casimero and other Filipino boxers are seen doing plyometrics with Pacquiao.
Casimero is back in the Philippines and a couple of days ago, he posted on social media that he was travelling to Davao.
“I am now in Davao training with Nonoy Neri,” Casimero told this writer. Neri is known for being the assistant trainer for Pacquiao. He also did work a few years ago with Jerwin Ancajas, who is now the IBF world junior bantamweight champion.
“Coach Neri has many boxers that I can spar with,” Casimero added. One of his social media posts shows Casimero sparring with Vincent Astrolabio, the WBO Oriental bantamweight titleholder.
In Ramirez’s last fight, he beat Eddy Valencia by unanimous verdict for the vacant WBC FECOMBOX superbantamweight title. The 31 year old Ramirez’s third career loss happened in the U.K. in 2016 against Ryan Burnett, who is now a former WBA world bantamweight champ. They fought for the WBC International belt with Burnett prevailing by unanimous decision. His other losses were to Mexican prospects Alejandro Gonzalez,Jr and Aaron Alameda.
Casimero vs Ramirez will be in Metro Manila co-promoted by Pacquiao's MP Promotioms. WBO Asia Pacific Vice President Leon Panoncillo will be supervising the contest. This fight is one of the rare times Casimero gets to have a title bout in the Philippines.
The 30 year old Casimero, from Ormoc, Leyte, is a noted road warrior, having previously seen action in eight different countries. He is also known for surviving an infamous ring riot in Argentina in 2012 where he won the IBF light flyweight title against Luis Alberto Lazarte. He captured the IBF world flyweight title in China against Thai Amnat Ruenroeng. Casimero also previously held a WBO interim world title in the light flyweight division which he won in Nicaragua in 2009 against Colombian Cesar Canchila and lost it in Mexico seven months later to Ramon Garcia Hirales.
Casimero only had a title bout twice at home. In 2013 he beat Mexico’s Felipe Salguero by 10th round TKO to retain his IBF light flyweight belt in Makati City. Then in 2014, he lost his IBF belt on the scales when he checked in overweight against Colombian Mauricio Fuentes in Cebu City. Casimero however, stopped Fuentes in round one.
As of this writing, there has been no word as to where exactly will they will hold the title bout in Metro Manila.
Casimero won the WBO interim belt last April in Carson, California by a dramatic 12th and final round stoppage of Mexican Ricardo Espinoza Franco. The regular WBO title is held by South African Zolani Tete(28-3,21KO’s), who has not defended since October 2018.
Tete suffered a right shoulder injury which forced him to pull out of the WBSS bantamweight tournament semis against Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire. The winner of the Casimero-Ramirez fight will face Tete with ninety days.
File photo – Johnriel Casimero training in Manila in 2016.
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