Earlier today in Tokyo we had a show at Korakuen Hall. The wasn't a big one but did have two notable bouts on it.
The first of the two notable bouts saw OPBF Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (14-0-1, 13) [竹迫司登] score a 3rd round KO win over Thai visitor Niwat Kongkan (11-9, 8). Takesako, who had been out of the ring for around 16 months, controlled the bout from the off, with his powerful jab and straight right hand. The power of Takesako was too much for the visitor who was dropped numerous times before a straight right hand closed the show. After the bout Takesako stated that he wanted to unify regional titles, suggesting he's now hunting for the WBO Asia Pacific title, before moving towards a world title in the future.
In the main event we saw former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (39-2-2, 26) [赤穂亮] destroy Edrin Dapudong (35-8-1, 21) in just 167 seconds. Akaho managed to hurt Dapudong several times, before landing a brutal left hook that sent the Filipino to the canvas, where he remained for the 10 count whilst on his knees. This was only the second time Dapudong had been stopped in 44 bouts, but was a statement from Akaho who revealed that his team are in touch with two former world champions for his next bout. The Japanese slugger revealed that he is expecting to face either Mexican bad boy Luis Nery (31-1, 24) or multi-weight Filipino John Riel Casmero (31-4, 21) next time out, and that promoter Ichitaro Ishii is waiting or contracts to be signed to announce who Akaho will be up against.
Interestingly, on the subject of Casimero, he has also been linked to a potential show down in December with Takuma Inoue (16-1, 3) [井上拓真].
Yesterday the WBO announced that they had made a decision regarding the situation of their Bantamweight title.
The WBO have decided to strip Filipino fighter John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21) who was recently forced out of a mandatory title defense against Paul Butler (34-2, 15) on medical grounds, and in turn promoted Butler from "interim" champion to full champion.
The medical grounds in question was Casimero using a sauna for the bout, in breach of rules set by the BBBofC, rules that are somewhat unique to the UK and aren't made widely available. In fact they need real effort to find out about, with the WBO accepting Casimero hadn't been informed of the rule before breaching it. Despite that, the Filipino was stripped as he failed to defend the title against the mandatory challenger, after having previously pulled out of the bout on short notice, in 2021. Due to pulling out of two scheduled clashes with Butler Casimero had failed to make a single mandatory defense since winning the title in 2019, when he stopped Zolani Tete.
Notably however the WBO haven't come down too hard on Casimero. Despite stripping him, as they should have done, they have made him the #1 ranked challenger to face Butler, potentially making him the future mandatory challenger to the new champion. In reality however it seems best for Casimero to abandon the division and begin to campaign at 122lbs, rather than continue to boil himself down the Bantamweight.
The full, 8 page, document on the WBO's decision and how they've reached it can be read here.
The drama around WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21) seems never ending at the moment, though his reign might be about to end due to issues outside of the ring, ahead of his scheduled bout with mandatory challenger Paul Butler (33-2, 15) this coming Friday.
The hard hitting Filipino has breached rules set by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC), in regards to health and weight management by using a sauna to help lose weight for the bout. That isn't allowed in the UK and lead to a statement from BBBofC letter, which was signed by General Secretary Robert W. Smith, stating “This is against the BBBofC’s medical guidelines and therefore we cannot permit him to compete in the proposed contest on Friday”.
Casimero has been given 48 hours to show cause or he will be stripped and the title will be made vacant.
Sadly for Casimero this is the latest in a long line of issues, that dates back years, with the professionalism of the Filipino. He was previously stripped of the IBF Light Flyweight title, in 2014, for failing to make weight against Mauricio Fuentes, and has issues for a previously scheduled bout with Butler last December, where he was hospitalised for gastritis, whilst rumours were that he was unable to make weight for that bout as well. There has also been stories of Casimero getting himself into legal trouble, with an accusation of sexual abuse in February, and a public falling out with Sean Gibbons.
Notably Casimero has spent much of the last 2 years calling out Naoya Inoue, and at one even had that fight signed before covid derailed things, it now seems like any hope of that fight happening is looking incredibly slim, especially if Casimero is indeed stripped of the WBO title.
At the time of writing the plan seems to be for Butler to face Jonas Sultan (18-5, 11) for the interim title, with Sultan marked as a standby foe for Butler, likely knowing that Casimero's lack of professionalism could rear it's head at a moment's notice. If this goes ahead it would give Sultan his second shot at a title, following a loss to the then IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, and notably this one looks like a very winnable opportunity for the highly skilled Filipino.
Back in December WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21) pulled out of a mandatory title defense against Paul Butler (33-2, 15), citing a medical issue. The bout was cancelled on short notice, and despite Butler then being matched with Joseph Agbeko (38-5, 28) for the same show that bout also fell through, with Butler declining Agbeko after both men weighed in.
Today we finally learned that the Casimero Vs Butler bout is now back on, and has a date and venue set for it.
The bout, which was originally scheduled for Dubai, is now set to take place at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England, and will take place on Friday April 22nd.
Interestingly the WBO have previously stated that there will be several conditions on this bout. Firstly if Casimero fails to attend the weigh in he will be stripped, likewise if he is injured ahead of this new date, he will be stripped. Likewise if Butler is forced to pull out, or fails to attend the weigh in, he will be stripped of his mandatory status. As a result this date for the bout is incredibly important for both men and the Bantamweight division in general.
Earlier this month we saw WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21) pull out of a mandatory title defense against Paul Butler (33-2, 15), citing medical issues. At the time it was unclear whether the WBO would allow Casimero to remain as the champion or would strip him, with the Organisation ordering the champion to "show cause" for why he shouldn't be stripped.
Today the WBO announced their decision on the matter, in a 5 page announcement on their website, explaining, in a huge amount of detail, the evidence and the situation that Casimero, Butler and the WBO found themselves in.
As a result of the evidence, to support that Casimero was unfit to compete in the bout, they have decided not to strip the champion. However they have re-ordered the bout with Butler, as a mandatory, and stated that it's now been well over 2 years since the title was last defended in a mandatory defense. As a result they are now expecting the promoter, Probellum, to inform the WBO whether they will be rescheduling the bout within the next 15 day, and if so when and where that rescheduled bout will take place.
Notably the WBO have put 4 conditions on the rescheduled bout. Firstly that Casimero MUST attend the weigh in for the rescheduled date, or he will be stripped. If Casimero is injured or suffers an injury, or reduses the fight for any reason he will also be stripped. Likewise if Butler does not attend the weigh in he will be stripped of his mandatory status, and if he refuses to fight for any reason, including injury, he will also miss out on the mandatory shot.
For those wanting to go through the full 5 page decision that can be read here:
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