RINGSIDE REPORT: CASIMERO-RIOS, APOLINARIO-VAZQUEZ FIGHTS IN PANAMA (PHOTOS)
By Carlos Costa
19 Mar 2013
CIUDAD DE PANAMA, Panama - It was great time for Filipino fighters Johnriel Casimero, John Mark Apolinario and their teams during their stay in the Latin American nation of Panama. Not only the Filipinos had good performance in the ring, but had the opportunity to learn about the people of Panama, their Hispanic culture, the famous Panama Canal and, above all, enjoy the hospitality and warmth of a welcoming country so similar to their own.
"I like Panama so much. I have traveled to so many countries in my life. Panama must be among my top favorite places, I made new friends and wish to come back," said Sammy Gello-Ani, promoter of Casimero and Apolinario.
CASIMERO OUTSMARTED RIOS TO RETAIN HIS IBF WORLD TITLE
Casimero easily retained his IBF Jr. Flyweight world title with a wide unanimous decision over Luis Alberto "Pan Blanco" Rios at the plush Megapolis Convention Center of the Hard Rock Hotel in Panama City.
Despite being a rather boring fight, Casimero, 22, landed the best punches of the evening, mainly jabs and some overhead punches.
Casimero vs Rios.
However, the blows dished out by Casimero arrived without the necessary power to stagger the Panamanian, who seemed confused with the style of the Filipino world champion. The one punch from Rios that could have hurt Casimero never landed as both warriors missed a large number of leathers thrown.
There were no cuts, no knockdowns and no fighter was rocked in any round. Nobody was in any kind of trouble throughout the dull 12 long rounds, and many fans booed and were glad that fight ended.
Fans had reasons for the booing as they paid up to $250 U.S. dollars (PHP 10,160) to be entertained with thrilling boxing action, which they never see.
"I am happy to win here in Panama," commented Casimero. "Maybe the fight was not so exciting, sorry for the fans here in Panama, but I did my job, and I did it well. I had a good time in Panama. Monday I travel to Ormoc to enjoy my win with my family."
The successful defense of Casimero in Panama was attended by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) President Daryl Peoples of New Jersey, USA, who worked as the fight's supervisor.
Also in attendance was Panama Boxing Commissioner Jose Oliver Gómez.
APOLINARIO AND VASQUEZ IN ANOTHER DRAW
In the co-main event, despite being outboxed, Pinoy boxer John Mark Apolinario, and his Panama opponent Roberto Vasquez drew again after twelve interesting rounds for the vacant WBA interim world title.
Roberto Vasquez, 29, a former 2-division world champion, seemed the most effective man on the ring, landing the more telling blows throughout the world title fight, while the brave and strong Filipino seemed confused with the good moves and elegant attacks sent to him by the Panamanian.
But the judges in Panama voted for a draw.
Judge Nelson Vasquez voted 115-115, Levi Martinez 112-116.5 for the Filipino and the gorgeous Mrs. Carla Caiz of California saw it 116-112 for Roberto Vasquez. Since the result was a draw, the WBA bantamweight interim title remains vacant.
Apolinario vs Vazquez.
Team Philippines celebrate.
L-R: Gello-ani, Costa and Panama boxing commissioner Jose Oliver Gomez.
Costa (R) with IBF President Darryl Peoples.
"Apolinario is my boxer and I appreciate his big effort, but I think the Panama fighter Roberto Vasquez should have won the fight," said the promoter of Apolinario, Sammy Gello-Ani.
"In my opinion, Vasquez connected the best hands, was more technical and effective. Won more rounds. Honestly, I was shocked but delighted that judges here in Panama saw it a draw. Of course, I am not going to argue," concluded a smiley Gello-Ani, who hours ago left Panama for the Philippines.
The successful card was a production of international promoter Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing LLC.
Photos in this story are kind courtesy of the Panama sports portal 507Extremo.
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