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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Back to UK for Casimero?

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
18 Jan 2017



Former IBF lightflyweight and flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero is looking forward to a big-money fight against WBC superflyweight titlist Roman (Chocolatito) Gonzalez of Nicaragua but if that’s not immediately available, he’ll settle for a shot at another throne with WBA ruler Khalid Yafai of Birmingham looming as an option because of the Filipino’s popularity in the UK market.

Casimero’s manager Sammy Gello-ani said yesterday he’ll study different options with Las Vegas-based Uruguay matchmaker Sampson Lewkowicz in the next few weeks before they firm up a fight schedule for the year. Casimero is now vacationing in Ormoc where his parents, brother and sister live. He’s expected back in Manila late this month to start workouts in trainer Jhun Agrabio’s Caloocan gym.

Last month, Casimero relinquished his IBF flyweight crown to invade the 115-pound division. “He’s growing,” said Gello-ani. “Sampson and I felt it was time to explore options in the superflyweight division. Our goal is for Casimero to become a three-time world champion. There are a lot of opportunities in the superflyweight division. Casimero’s dream is to fight Chocolatito but I’m not sure if that can happen right away. Chocolatito has a title defense on March 18 then he’ll fight (Carlos) Cuadras in a rematch.”

Aside from Gonzalez, the other superflyweight champions are Yafai, WBO king Naoya Inoue of Japan and IBF titleholder Jerwin Ancajas. Gello-ani said Ancajas is the lowest priority because he’s a Filipino. “We’d rather not fight Jerwin,” he said. “I used to promote him. Jerwin has a defense against (Jose Alfredo) Rodriguez in Macau on Jan. 29 so let’s wait for the outcome. If Sampson thinks fighting Jerwin is the only option available to win another world title, we’ll do it.”

Yafai could be an option and Gello-ani said he’ll broach the idea of challenging the English champion to Lewkowicz. Last September, Casimero halted Yafai’s countryman Charlie Edwards to retain his IBF flyweight crown at the O2 Arena in London and impressed the English fans who were treated to a display of power, craftiness and guts. “Casimero is very clever as well as the hardest hitter I’ve ever faced for sure,” said Edwards. “He was brutal with his punch power but clever with it, too.” A return to England would be welcomed by English fans.

Yafai, who is of Yemen descent like former English world champion Naseem Hamed, has a 21-0 record, with 14 KOs. He claimed the vacant WBA superflyweight title via a unanimous 12-round verdict over Panama’s Luis Concepcion in Manchester last Dec. 10. Defending champion Concepcion was stripped of the crown when he scaled over the 115-pound limit twice at the weigh-in. He scaled 117.4 in his first attempt and 117.2 in his second. The throne was declared vacant but the fight went on with the ruling that if Concepcion won, the title would remain vacant but if Yafai won, he would be the new champion. Yafai, 27, tipped the scales at 114 1/2.

Yafai, who lost to Filipino Violito Payla at the 2007 AIBA World Championships as an amateur, is a 2008 Olympian. He’s known for his lethal left hook to the body, the weapon that disposed of Nicaraguan knockout victims Johnson Tellez, Dixon Flores and Aron Juarez.

“It’s a good idea to fight Yafai in London,” said Gello-ani. “I’ll bring it up to Sampson. I’m sure the English fans would like to see Casimero again. We don’t want Casimero to get stale, waiting for Chocolatito who has two fights in line.”

Gello-ani said Casimero was scheduled to stake his IBF flyweight crown against Japanese flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa in Tokyo last Dec. 31 but the bout was cancelled. Kogawa suffered an ear injury in beating Yudai Arai last October and doctors wouldn’t clear him to fight Casimero. “We were getting ready for Kogawa but two weeks after his fight against Arai, we were told of the injury,” said Gello-ani. “Apparently, there was blood that came out of Kogawa’s ear and doctors wanted more time for the injury to heal. We were advised that the fight would be postponed to February or March. We couldn’t wait that long. We later decided to give up the title.”

Another possibility is challenging Inoue who has an 11-0 record, with nine KOs. Inoue, 23, is called The Monster and has repulsed four challengers so far since wresting the crown from Argentina’s Omar Narvaez in 2014. One of the challengers was Filipino Warlito Parrenas who was knocked out in two rounds. Two other Filipino knockout victims were Crison Omayao and Jerson Mancio. Before turning pro, Inoue racked up an amateur record of 75-6, with 48 stoppages.

But Gello-ani said Gonzalez is the ultimate target. “We know that Chocolatito wants a purse of no less than $1 Million for every fight,” he said. “If Casimero and Chocolatito keep winning, they’ll eventually meet up.”

Photo: Johnriel Casimero (R) in defended his IBF flyweight title against Britain's Charlie Edwards last September 10 at the O2 Arena in London.


Back to Joaquin Henson's Articles Listing



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