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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Casimero vows to put foe to sleep

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
10 Sep 2016



IBF flyweight champion John Riel (Tata) Casimero will unveil a new knockout punch he calls the Pokemon Pikachu in his defense against Charlie Edwards at the O2 Arena in London tonight (tomorrow morning, Manila time) and promised to put the English challenger to sleep.

“When he wakes up, it will be the next morning,” said Casimero in Pilipino the day before leaving Manila for London last Sunday. “I can’t say when the fight will end but I want to go home early. Edwards has no power. I’m not afraid to get hit. He’s the challenger so he has to be the aggressor which is how I like it. I’m ready for whatever style he’ll use. If he runs, I’ll chase him down. If he comes in, I’ll be waiting. If it’s a brawl he wants, I’ll give it to him.”

Casimero, 26, said he’s not fazed by the partisan English fans who are expected to be loud and rowdy. “All I know is I’m the star, not Edwards,” he said. “This fight won’t be a problem. I know what to do. He’ll make it easy for me if he comes forward. But I won’t be overconfident. Timing is important.”

Trainer Jhun Agrabio will be in Casimero’s corner with the champion’s brother and co-trainer Jason. Agrabio took over the job of training Casimero from Pingping Tepora only for his last three bouts starting with the second round stoppage of Armando Santos in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, in December 2014.

Agrabio was with Casimero when he lost a controversial decision to IBF flyweight titlist Amnat Ruenroeng in Bangkok last year. Casimero’s manager Sammy Gello-ani protested the verdict to the IBF which retained the Filipino’s No. 1 ranking and ordered a rematch in a mandatory defense. Last May, Casimero dethroned Amnat on a fourth round knockout in Beijing.

Casimero went through six sparmates in logging over 100 rounds to prepare for Edwards. Agrabio said he would’ve liked Ardin Diale to spar with Casimero because the Sarangani fighter resembles Edwards’ style except he’s only 5-3 while the English challenger is 5-6. “We decided not to bring in Diale and hired six sparmates so Tata is exposed to different styles,” he said. “Of all the fighters I’ve trained, Tata is one of the three best. The others were Marvin Sonsona and Ivan Soriano. Marvin became a world champion but has no discipline. Soriano had a 14-1-1 record but retired at 24 because of a heart problem. He’s now training fighters in a Makati gym. Soriano used to spar with Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga and could’ve become a world champion.”

Casimero said with his ring earnings, he was able to build a house for his parents in Ormoc and put up a piggery with three sows. His father is a retired porter at the Ormoc wharf while his mother keeps house. His dream is to own a boxing gym in Manila.

“My target is Roman Gonzalez,” said Casimero. “I’ve been calling him out for years but so far, no reply. I think I can beat him. I fight like Edwin Valero (the Venezuelan who was the WBA superfeatherweight and WBC lightweight champion, had a record of 27-0, with 27 KOs and died at 28 in 2010) but my idol is Manny Pacquiao.”

Gonzalez, 29, has a 45-0 record, with 38 KOs, and is a former WBA minimumweight, WBA lightflyweight and WBC flyweight champion from Nicaragua. Tonight, he battles Carlos Cuadras in a bid for the WBC superflyweight crown in Inglewood, California.

“It’s up to Sammy and Sampson what will be Tata’s next fight,” said Agrabio. “He could unify the world flyweight championship or go up to 115 and challenge Gonzalez if he beats Cuadras. Tata is a two-time world champion so he’s up there among the best. He’s a hard hitter and a volume puncher. He’s also fast so I don’t think beating Gonzalez is an impossible dream.”

Another fighter looming as a future opponent is Brian Viloria. “I’d rather Tata not fight Brian because they’re both Filipinos,” said Agrabio. “But if that’s what management wants, then let’s do it. Brian doesn’t move too much and stands in front of you so if he fights Tata, expect a brawl and a knockout. If Brian comes out as Tata’s next opponent, why not?”

Agrabio said he’s not worried about the hostile environment in London. “I anticipate a lot of booing but Tata’s used to that,” he said. “Tata has won twice in Mexico and once each in Panama, Argentina, Nicaragua and China. He’s used to fighting in his opponent’s backyard. It doesn’t bother him. I think it’s his motivation. What I like about Tata is he comes to fight ready to give it his all.”

Agrabio said Casimero’s left hook and right uppercut are his deadliest weapons. “He likes to throw a left to the side of the body then follow it up with a right to the head,” he said. “That’s his knockout combination. We’re not taking Edwards lightly. He asked for this fight so I don’t think he would’ve asked for it if he didn’t think he could win. Tata is prepared to do what it takes to win.”


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