By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Filipino boxers Joe Noynay and John Riel Casimero delivered big victories in overseas fights last weekend. Noynay garnered another regional title when he stopped Japanese Kosuke Saka in two rounds for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific junior lightweight title at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan.
“I wasn’t expecting the fight to end early. But I caught him early, knocked him down twice in the first, the referee stopped it in the second.” Noynay told this writer.
Noynay may be elated with his win but he isn’t thinking about a world title shot just yet. “That really depends…I will just continue to train hard.”
Noynay is now 17W-2L-1D,6KO’s while Saka drops to 18W-5L,15KO’s.
The current WBO world champion in the 130lb division is a Japanese, Masayuki Ito. Prior to this win, the WBO had Noynay at number ten in their latest rankings. Noynay also exorcised the ghost of his loss in Japan when he lost a unanimous decision to Reiya Abe at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
The 23 year old southpaw from Bogo,Cebu, previously held the Youth version of the WBO Asia Pacific title. Two years ago, Noynay was an underdog in Zhongshan,China when he took the Youth regional belt from previously unbeaten Chinese Pan Jinxiang by eighth round technical decision.
Last year, he returned to his hometown of Bogo and defended his WBO regional belt against Mexican Hector Garcia and prevailed by majority decision.
On the same date in a different time zone, former two-division IBF world champion John Riel Casimero rose to the occasion in his U.S. debut and beat erstwhile WBO number one contender Ricardo Espinoza Franco by TKO in the twelfth and final round for the vacant WBO interim world bantamweight title.
Casimero was ranked number six going into this bout that was initially reported to be for the WBO International belt.
But it was reported four days before the contest that it will be for the interim world title. The current WBO champion, South African Zolani Tete, is currently tied up with the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament.
Casimero had to leave without trainer Jhun Agrabio, who had visa issues. Former WBO light flyweight champ, Rodel Mayol stepped up to work in his corner. Casimero left the Philippines ten pounds over the limit but Mayol told this writer that three days before the weigh-in that Casimero would make weight. And he did, at 116.8lbs while the much taller Ricardo Espinoza weighed 117.8lbs.
Agrabio told this writer after the fight that Casimero stuck to their game plan. But, before the fight was stopped the scores after eleven rounds were 105 - 103 Casimero, 105 - 103 Espinoza and 104 – 104. This underscores the heart of toughness of Casimero.
Casimero is now 27-4,18KO’s. Espinoza is 23-3,20KO’s.
What made this win more amazing was that it was only two months ago that he confidently stated that he would be targeting another belt at 118 lbs.
“It was Casimero being a veteran that made the difference in this bout.” Mayol stated.
The 30 year old Casimero, from Ormoc, Leyte, previously held a WBO interim world title in the junior flyweight division.
He captured IBF world titles at junior flyweight and flyweight. He 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.
We will wait and see what happens next and how he will fit in after the WBSS tournament is over.
Photo – Joe Noynay (left) and Johnriel Casimero
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
It was a night filled with brutal knockouts but John Riel Casimero’s beatdown of Japanese Kenya Yamashita had the more veteran observers buzzing. Boxing writers who attended the official weigh-in wondered if he could carry his punching power a couple of divisions higher. One of the reasons for this uncertainty was his lethargic showing against Jonas Sultan in an IBF junior bantamweight eliminator a couple of years ago.
Yamashita did manage to take Casimero’s punches early in the fight. But Casimero added body shots to his offense as the rounds progressed and Yamashita was bruised, bloodied and dazed at the end of the fifth. There was concern already about Yamashita’s well-being with the ring doctor checking in on him before the start of the sixth.
The fight was allowed to continue and a sharp right uppercut sent Yamashita crashing into his corner. Medical personnel attended to him before he was able to leave the ring on his own two legs.
That win last Saturday was Casimero’s warning shot to the bantamweight division. He told this writer during the weigh that he intended to win another world title as a bantamweight. The fight against Yamashita dismissed any doubts as to whether he was still a viable force.
“I heard Jerwin Ancajas is planning a move to 118,” Casimero told this writer, “Well, I am going to beat him to it. I will be going for the big fights before he does.”
There is still an ongoing World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament but Casimero did mention recently crowned WBC champ Nordine Oubaali of France as one of those that he would like to fight.
Casimero’s upset loss to Sultan prevented him from being part of the first all-Filipino world title fight in almost a hundred years. Ancajas outclassed Sultan and successfully defended his IBF junior bantamweight title by unanimous verdict.
The chatter after the Yamashita fight was how did an accomplished two-division champion like Casimero lose to an upstart like Sultan. Casimero won IBF world titles at 108 and 112 lbs. He has been a pro for a dozen years now and beat the likes of Luis Alberto Lazarte, Pedro Guevara, Amnat Ruenroeng and Charlie Edwards. Casimero is also a noted road warrior, having fought in eight different countries. He is also known for surviving an infamous ring riot in Argentina after he beat Lazarte. Boxing insiders who gathered at ringside talked about his inconsistencies in training. He does have a history of gaining a lot of weight in between fights. In fact, he lost his IBF junior flyweight title at the scales in 2014.
The 30 year old Casimero is now 26-4, 17KO’s. The veteran boxing writers who followed his career all agree that with dedication and discipline, he can be a world champion again. In his fight against Yamashita, he was reunited with cornerman Jhun Agrabio, who guided him in his revenge fourth round TKO win against the Thai Ruenroeng in Beijing, China in 2016.
Last year, Casimero trained with Morris East, a Filipino former WBA world junior welterweight champ, in Las Vegas. Casimero had one fight in Tijuana, Mexico,an easy second round TKO win over Jose Pech.
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