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Pokemon punch did it for Casimero


PhilBoxing.com




IBF flyweight champion Johnriel (Tata) Casimero made good on his promise to dispose of English challenger Charlie Edwards with what he calls his Pokemon Pikachu punch and impressed the hostile fans in scoring a 10th round stoppage at the O2 Arena in London last Saturday night (early yesterday morning, Manila time).

Trainer Jhun Agrabio said Casimero gained the respect of Matchroom Sport managing director and promoter Eddie Hearn who opened the door for another London assignment in the future. ?Tata was booed when he entered the ring,? said Agrabio in Pilipino over the phone from London. ?We expected it. But after the fight, Tata was mobbed by fans for autographs and pictures. Hearn thanked Tata for coming to London and giving the fans an exciting fight. Even Triple G (WBC and IBF middleweight champion Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin) congratulated Tata, embraced him, saying he?s a great champion with great power.? Golovkin stopped Kell Brook in the fifth round of the main event on the same card.

Agrabio, Casimero?s brother and co-trainer Jason and manager Sammy Gello-ani worked the champion's corner for the bout against Edwards. Agrabio doubled as cutman since the Mexican who was supposed to fly in from Las Vegas wound up going to Japan for another gig. Casimero suffered a cut over his left eye due to an accidental headbutt in the fourth round but Agrabio kept the wound in check.

From the onset, Casimero dictated the pace of the fight, pursuing Edwards who used his left jab in trying to stay a safe distance away from the Filipino?s strike zone. Edwards moved side-to-side with the intention of throwing off Casimero?s rhythm but to no avail. After Casimero was cut by a butt, he buckled Edwards? knees with a right uppercut late in the fourth round. Edwards held off Casimero in the next two rounds as the Filipino appeared to coast. In the seventh, Casimero was back on the attack and rocked Edwards who held on for dear life and in the eighth, an overhand right staggered the Englishman. Casimero went for the kill in the ninth but Edwards managed to stay on his feet. In the 10th, a counter left hook to the jaw sent Edwards down on his back with both feet up in the air. Edwards got on his knees and struggled to rise at the count of eight.

When action was resumed, Casimero pushed Edwards along the ropes and landed a vicious left uppercut, prompting English referee Steve Gray to step in at the 1:57 mark. It didn?t make a difference how judges Michael Alexander of Yorkshire, Glen Hamada of Washington and Danrex Tapdasan of the Philippines scored it although the consensus was Casimero was way ahead on points.

Casimero said he was once like Edwards, bursting with ambition and admired the Englishman for taking the chance to fight for the world title in only his ninth bout. He proved too strong, crafty and experienced for the 23-year-old Edwards who took his first loss. The win raised Casimero?s record to 23-3, with 15 KOs.

?Our secret plan was to counter Edwards,? said Agrabio. ?We knew he would move around so we only waited for the right timing. Tata didn?t really chase him, he just cut the ring off to trap Edwards. We had a Plan A, B and C so we were prepared for any situation. Tata wasn?t too active in the fifth and sixth rounds because we wanted to bait Edwards to engage, to come in. Sometimes, Tata would even bring down his hands to invite Edwards in. Our strategy worked. Tata hit him with a counter left hook and that was it.? Casimero, 26, unravelled a wide array of punches to fluster Edwards. The combination of a right hook to the side of the body, left hook to the head and a right uppercut to the chin was devastating. Edwards never knew where the punches came from. He tried to fight from a distance but Casimero left little space for Edwards to operate, stepping in to unleash after ducking a jab.

Casimero and his traveling party will be back home tonight. Before taking off from London, Gello-ani will confer with Agrabio and Casimero on what?s next on the table. Agrabio said a fight in November is a possibility. Casimero has called out newly-crowned WBC superflyweight champion Roman (Chocolatito) Gonzalez of Nicaragua for a faceoff.

Casimero has now joined two Filipinos who won world title fights in London. In 1983, Frank Cedeno knocked out Tunisia-born UK Olympian Charlie Magri in the sixth round to wrest the WBC flyweight crown at Wembley Arena and in 1997, Eric Jamili halted hometowner Mickey Cantwell in the eighth to claim the vacant WBO minimumweight title at the New London Arena. Agrabio pointed out the coincidence of Casimero and Cedeno both halting Englishmen named Charlie in their world flyweight title fights in London 33 years apart.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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