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Casimero can’t afford to lose


PhilBoxing.com



Casimero.

Interim WBO bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero is in line to challenge reigning WBO titlist Zolani Tete of South Africa but his dream of sitting on the 118-pound throne will go up in smoke if the Ormoc City slugger loses to Mexico’s Cesar Ramirez in a 12-round bout at the San Andres Sports Complex next Saturday.


For Casimero, losing to Ramirez isn’t an option and with Sen. Manny Pacquiao backing him up, he’s going all-out for a big win in the Manila venue where the fight will be free to the public. Ramirez is arriving from his hometown in Tepic, Nayarit via Japan tonight with manager Francisco Bracamontes and trainer Victor Martinez.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said Ramirez is flying in a week before the bout “to adjust himself to the time change and give himself the best opportunity to win.” Gibbons said this is Casimero’s acid test before taking on Tete who was slated to face WBA ruler Nonito Donaire in a World Boxing Super Series unification showdown in Louisiana last April but withdrew with a right shoulder injury.

Ramirez, 31, is ranked No. 10 by the WBO and has an 18-3 record, with 11 KOs. He has won his last six outings, five inside the distance. His only losses were to Alejandro Gonzalez, Jr. by knockout in his third pro bout in Tijuana in 2012, to Aaron Alameda on points in Mazatlan in 2015 and to Ryan Burnett on points in England in 2016. Ramirez is the current WBC Fecombox (Federacion de Comisiones de Box de la Republica Mexicana) superbantamweight champion.

Casimero, 30, took the interim WBO bantamweight crown on a 12th round stoppage of Mexico’s Ricardo Espinoza in Carson City last April. Referee Rudy Barragan stopped it after Espinoza went down in rounds six and 12. Casimero’s record is 27-4, with 18 KOs. Known as a road warrior, Casimero has won fights in Argentina, Nicaragua, Panama, China, England, the US and in Mexico thrice. Gibbons was with Casimero when the Filipino halted hometown hero Luis Lazarte in the 10th round in Argentina in 2012, sparking a riot among the loser’s truck union sympathizers. Casimero hid under the ring to elude the rioters but Gibbons was attacked before police quashed the fracas.

“Ramirez prepared two months for this fight and he’s a very hungry fighter with a lot of Mexican pride,” said Gibbons. “If Casimero wins, next Monday morning, we’ll move to make the Tete fight. That’s the fight Casimero wants and it will take place either in the US or England. I anticipate it going to a purse bid.”

If Ramirez trained hard for the fight, Gibbons said so did Casimero. “For over a month in the US, Casimero trained under Sen. Pacquiao’s guidance,” said Gibbons. “When he came back to the Philippines last July 25, he went straight to Davao to train at the MP Gym under Nonoy Neri. Casimero understands at this point in his career, there is no losing so physically and mentally, he’s in the best shape of his career and looks forward to showcasing his talents to all his Filipino fans watching on ABS-CBN and those coming out next Saturday to the San Andres Sports Complex. Casimero is grateful to Sen. Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno for their support in making this fight happen and opening the Sports Complex to fans for free.”

Casimero, a former IBF lightflyweight and flyweight champion, hopes to join Pacquiao, Donnie Nietes and Donaire as the only Filipinos to win world titles in at least three divisions. In 2017, Casimero suffered an unexpected loss to countryman Jonas Sultan on a decision in Cebu but has since rebounded to post three straight knockouts over Mexico’s Jose Pech in Tijuana, Japan’s Kenya Yamashita at the SM City North EDSA Skydome and Espinoza. “Casimero has learned from his mistakes and now works with Nonoy who’s his trainer,” said Gibbons. “He knows what’s at stake in his fight against Ramirez.”


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


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