By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Casey Morton (8-1-3,1KO) of Hawaii,USA will get her first world title shot this June 19 in Chiba City, Japan when she takes on the hometown favorite Miyo Yoshida (12-1,0KO) for the vacant WBO female world junior bantamweight title.
Morton, who turned pro in 2014, has been fighting here in Asia since 2017. She has seen action in the Philippines thrice, winning against Thais Phannaluk Kongsang in Mandaue City, Cebu and Kanchana Tungthaisong in Parañaque City. Last March, in her last outing , she beat Japanese Chie Higano by unanimous decision for the WBO Asia Pacific flyweight title, also in Parañaque.
She is trained by Nonito Donaire,Sr., the father of the current WBA super world bantamweight champion Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire.
“Coach Donaire and I are extremely excited and grateful about this fight,” Morton told this writer in an online interview.
Donaire,Sr. was in Morton’s corner in her first appearance in mainland China when she stopped Daorueng Pakkhetanang of Thailand in one round in Suzhou. But in her second bout in China last year, she lost to another Thai, Jutamas Jitpong, by unanimous decision. Morton moved up from 112 to 115 lbs for that fight. Donaire,Sr was also visibly absent in her corner.
“He got the opportunity to assist in Manny Pacquiao’s fight.” Morton said, “He was also opening a restaurant in Gen.Santos City, but Coach Donaire remained in close contact and I continued to train myself.”
“I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to fight in China for another WBO Asia Pacific title. If you turn these fights down, you may never get these opportunities again.” Morton continued to expound on her only loss. If she had won that bout, that would have given her the WBO Asia Pacific belt at 115lbs.
She went down in weight again and at 112lbs, won the regional title against Higano. Morton, a.k.a. the Lady Hawaiian Punch, once again had Donaire,Sr in her corner last March.
Morton believes going up and down in weight will not be problem, “I feel comfortable at both weights. Coach Donaire has a very special way of training.No one else can do what he does.”
This will be her first time to fight in Japan but she has visited the country to watch a pro fight event. “I don’t study a lot of fight film, that’s my coach’s job. As a fighter I may study the wrong habits.”
She doesn’t have any predictions for the fight. “I will always give my opponents gratitude for the opportunity and respect. Coach and I are just excited to give our best performance yet.”
Donaire,Sr has an impressive body of work. Other than his son who won multiple world titles, in 2009, the elder Donaire was tapped to bring experience to the corner of Marvin Sonsona, who would dethrone Puerto Rican Jose Lopez for the WBO world junior bantamweight title. One of his boxers, Joebert Alvarez, won the light flyweight division of the Philippine boxing reality tournament “Buhay Boksingero” in 2011 and would go the distance against Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada in a losing effort in 2014. Morton is the second female boxer Donaire,Sr has trained, the first being Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton, who would go on to win world titles with the WBO and IBA.
Yoshida will not be a pushover. She has captured the Japanese and OPBF titles at bantamweight. Her only loss was in 2016 by unanimous verdict against Yuki Koseki. She has beaten Filipino boxers Kim Actub and Gretel dela Paz. Phannaluk Kongsang of Thailand is their common opponent, having lost to both by unanimous decision.
Morton vs Yoshida will be on the undercard of the WBO world junior bantamweight title bout between Kazuto Ioka (Japan) and Aston Palicte (Philippines) and the WBA super world junior flyweight title fight between champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (Japan) and Tanawat Nakoon (Thailand).
File photo – Casey Morton with trainer Nonito Donaire,Sr in Suzhou,China November 2017.
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