By Rene Bonsubre,jr
It was weekend like no other in the Philippines. Back to back title fights in different locations in Metro Manila and a champion defending his title overseas. When the dust settled, it was only John Riel Casimero who still had a world title belt around his waist.
Casimero faced Mexican visitor Cesar Ramirez at the San Andres Sports Center in Malate,Manila. Both boxers were hesitant to trade bombs at the start. Casimero’s left scored a flash knockdown in the third and there was a questionable knockdown in the fifth also against Ramirez. In between, Ramirez had his best moments on the outside, using his jab and landing quick one-two combos.
But Casimero was successful in turning it into a street fight. They took turns staggering each other but this type of battle was Casimero’s world. It brought back memories of Casimero’s nasty brawl and TKO win against Luis Alberto Lazarte in Argentina seven years ago.
In the seventh, Casimero blasted Ramirez through the ropes. A KO ending was looming. In the 10th a faded Ramirez succumbed and fell flat after being hit by a clean right to the jaw. Referee Ramon Peña correctly signaled the end as Ramirez (18-4,11KO’s) spent a few minutes lying on the canvas.
Aside from retaining the interim WBO title, Casimero (28-W-4L,19KO’s) earned the right to fight WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete of South Africa within ninety days.
Carlo Caesar Peñalosa could not capitalize his homecourt advantage and succumbed to the pressure fighting Mexican Maximino Flores. Peñalosa was on the back foot for most of the fight, seeking refuge on the ropes and preferring to counter. Flores continued to swing for the body, not thinking whether his punches were blocked or not, as long as he kept going forward.
An accidental clash of heads lead to a cut on Peñalosa’s left eye. The ring doctor allowed the fight to continue and Flores continued to control the action. Peñalosa landed clean shots but Flores just walked through them.
There was a weird moment after the sixth round when the Aussie referee Garry Dean announced the fight was stopped and was going to the scorecards. There was a miscommunication with the ring doctor who said he did not recommend the stoppage just yet.
The fight continued in the seventh after a brief protest by the Mexican camp. Peñalosa couldn’t do anything to change the complexion of the fight and it was stopped at the end of the round. The scores – Judges Jerrold Tomeldan (Philippines) and Adam Height (Australia) had it for Flores 68-65 and 67-66 respectively and Kevin Pyne (New Zealand) had it 67-66 for Peñalosa.
The fight for the vacant IBO world flyweight title was promoted by Carlo’s uncle, former two-division world champion Gerry Peñalosa and held at the TV5 Studio in Quezon City.
It seemed this was a case of Flores (25-4-1,17KO’s) simply having experienced better competition, previously losing to Andrew Selby of the U.K.and Filipino Milan Melindo. It will be back to the drawing boards for the 26 year old Peñalosa (14-2,7KO’s) who suffers his second pro loss.
Vic Saludar’s career seemed to be headed for greater heights after winning twice in Japan. But mandatory challenger Puerto Rican Wilfredo Mendez had other plans. Saludar defended the WBO minimumweight crown on Mendez’s home turf in San Juan,Puerto Rico and left an ex-champion.
Mendez (14-1,5KO’s) danced and jabbed his way to victory. Saludar’s left knocked him down in the fifth but this was near the end of the round and there was no time to follow it up. The trend continued wherein the southpaw Mendez circled effectively away from Saludar’s power right. He clinched when Saludar (19-4,10KO’s) got too close for comfort.
Mendez’s strategy was reminiscent of another Puerto Rican miniflyweight, Ivan Calderon. The scores at the end - 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112.
Saludar’s trainer Jojo Palacios could not make the trip to Puerto Rico because of visa issues. Filipino-Hawaiian Bobby Villaver, an experienced cornerman who made a name in Thailand, was Palacios’ replacement.
ULTIMATE BOXING SERIES
The undercard of the Penalosa-Flores fight saw the finals of the Ultimate Boxing Series tournament. The audience was treated to two close fiercely fought eight rounders.
April Jay Abne won the flyweight category with a majority decision win over Ronel Sumalpong while Lienard Sarcon was on the top of the bantamweights after beating Aljum Pelesio also by majority verdict.
PHOTO – Left to right – John Riel Casimero, Vic Saludar and Carlo Peñalosa
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Filipino flyweight contender Giemel Magramo (23-1,19KO’s) is one fight away from a coveted world title shot. The man he has to beat on September 7, Thailand’s Eaktawan Krungthepthonburi (25-5,16KO’s) is a familiar face in the Philippines.
“I am familiar with his style,” Magramo told this writer, “I saw his fight against Donnie Nietes.”
Eaktawan, whose birth name is Komgrich Nantapech, lost to Nietes by unanimous decision in Cebu City two years ago in their fight for the vacant IBF world flyweight title. He also lost to Nietes’ stablemate, Albert Pagara, by second round KO in Maasin City in 2012 and to Froilan Saludar by unanimous decision a year later in Makati City.
The 24 year old Magramo turned pro in 2012 and won his first ranking title, the WBC International flyweight belt in 2015. His lone career loss was in 2016, a unanimous decision to Pakistani Muhammad Waseem in Seoul, South Korea for the WBC silver flyweight title. Magramo’s biggest win was against the erstwhile undefeated world ranked Chinese Wenfeng Ge in Suzhou,China last January. The fight was stopped at the end of the tenth when Ge’s swollen right eye got worse, which along with a cut, hampered his vision. This win earned Magramo the WBO International flyweight belt and boosted him up the world rankings in all the four major sanctioning bodies.
“I was confident I would win in China,” Magramo said, “I knew it would move me closer to a world title shot.”
“My training is going well, I have been sparring with Giovanni Escaner and a Japanese boxer, Hisada. But I can’t predict a knockout just yet.”
The 30 year old Eakawan’s last two wins were against Filipinos Crison Omayao and Rollen del Castillo.
Magramo is currently ranked number four by the IBF with Eaktawan at number three. Their IBF eliminator will be held at the Jurado Hall of the Philippine Marine Corps in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila. The winner will face the IBF world champ Moruti Mthalane of South Africa.
Mthalane will be several steps up in class compared to Eaktawan but Magramo is still confident.
“It is my dream to fight Mthalane, and I know I can beat him.” Magramo stated.
The 36 year old Mthalane (38-2,25KO’s) has held on and off, the IBF world flyweight crown since 2009. His famous loss was against Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire in 2008 due to a cut. He has beaten Filipinos like three time world champ John Riel Casimero, Jether Oliva, Genesis Libranza and Ardin Diale. Last New Year’s Eve in Macao, Mthalane gave Japanese Masahiro Sakamoto a brutal demolition job and stopped him in ten rounds. His last defense was in May, a unanimous verdict against another Japanese, Masayuki Kuroda in Tokyo.
Magramo comes from a boxing family, His father, uncles and grand uncles are all boxers. His father, Melvin went the full route against Manny Pacquiao in Cebu City when they were both flyweight contenders way back in 1997.
The Magramo-Eaktawan fight will be on the undercard of the all-Filipino world title bout between Samuel Salva and Pedro Taduran for the vacant IBF minimumweight crown. This September 7 card is presented by Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions.
Photo – Giemel Magramo during the weigh-in in Suzhou,China last January
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Vic Saludar (19-3,10KO’s) is all set for another title defense on the road when he stakes his WBO minimumweight title against mandatory challenger Wilfredo Mendez (13-1,5KO’s) of Puerto Rico.
Saludar’s trainer Jojo Palacios had a short but interesting online chat with this writer about his fighter’s preparations.
“He will be leaving today (Monday) for the long travel to Puerto Rico” Palacios said, “I couldn’t join them because of visa issues. Bobby Villaver will be Vic’s cornerman during the fight. That will not be a problem because Villaver is actually my mentor.”
Villaver is a Filipino-Hawaiian who made waves as a trainer in Thailand years back when he trained Somsak Sithchatchawal - who was then a virtual unknown - who dethroned WBA world junior featherweight champion Mahyar Monshipour of France in 2006.
“Vic’s training went really well, he has no weight problems. He is having regular meals and is just 2.4lbs over after eating breakfast today.” Palacios stated.
Palacios also changed his prediction about the fight. Early in their training camp, he told this writer that he expected a difficult fight But when asked about his boxer’s chances during our chat he said that he was confident that Saludar would win by knockout.
The 28 year old Saludar took the title in Kobe,Japan last July 13, 2018 against Ryuya Yamanaka by unanimous decision. Last February, Saludar successfully defended his title for the first time against Japanese Masataka Taniguchi also by unanimous decision at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
Saludar was a member of the Philippine amateur boxing team. He won a bronze medal in the light flyweight class in the 2010 Asian Games and his brother Rey won the gold in the flyweight category.
The 22 year old Mendez is the WBO number one contender and he holds the regional WBO NABO belt. His only loss happened last year by unanimous decision against Nicaraguan Leyman Benavides in the Dominican Republic.
Saludar vs Mendez will be at the Ballroom of the Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico in San Juan on August 24.
Photo – Vic Saludar celebrating his win in Japan
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
WBO number 13 ranked bantamweight contender Vincent Astrolabio (13-3,9KO’s) of the Philippines will defend his WBO Oriental belt against countryman Kevin Aseniero (9-2-1,5KO’s) on the undercard of the WBO interim bantamweight title match between Johnriel Casimero and Mexican Cesar Ramirez.
The fight card will be held at the Fil Oil Flying V San Juan Arena in San Juan City, Metro Manila.
Astrolabio’s ring monicker ‘Asero’ means Steel. The 22 year old from Gen. Santos City started his career with ten straight wins including a road victory against Chinese boxer Ayati Sailike by unanimous decision in Beijing.
Then starting in late 2017, he dropped to 2W-3L. One of those losses was by TKO to Japanese Yuki Strong Kobayashi on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Lucas Matthysse megabout in Malaysia. Astrolabio lost in his return to China by majority decision to Zong Li He in a WBO Asia Pacific junior bantamweight title bout.
But Astrolabio bounced back last April, when he traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia and stopped Indon Patrick Liukhoto in nine rounds for the vacant WBO Oriental bantamweight title. Astrolabio will be defending his regional belt for the first time against Aseniero.
Astrolabio has also been mentioned by Casimero as one of his chief sparring partners in Davao.
The 25 year old Aseniero is from Cagayan de Oro City. He sports the moniker ‘The Bull’. This will be his first shot at a regional title. In his last fight, he beat Japanese Kyota Otsuka by seventh round TKO in Bacoor, Cavite.
Penned to appear on the same card is Charly Suarez (2-0,2KO’s). The 30 year old former Olympian will face Virgil Puton (17-12-2,8KO’s).
will be eventful for Filipino boxing fans. On the same date in Puerto Rico, Vic Saludar will defend his WBO world minimumweight title against Puerto Rican Wilfredo Mendez.
Photo – Vincent Astrolabio winning the WBO Oriental bantamweight title in Indonesia against Patrick Liukhoto.
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.
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.