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All or nothing for Casimero


PhilBoxing.com



JohnRiel Casimero (center) with (from left) Brendan Gibbons, Ting Ariosa, Pedro Roque and Memo Heredia in Miami.

For WBO bantamweight champion JohnRiel Casimero, the battlecry is “All or Nothing” in his unification showdown with unbeaten super WBA/IBF titleholder Naoya (The Monster) Inoue of Japan at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on April 25.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons, who arranged the blockbuster bout, said there’s no turning back for Casimero. “It’s like he waited eight years for this chance,” said Gibbons. “The way he’s training, Casimero’s going all out. There’s nothing to come back from if he loses to Inoue. That’s not an option. He knows what’s on the line. If and when he beats Inoue, Casimero will become an instant superstar. They call Inoue ‘The Monster’ but on April 25, Casimero will show who the real Monster is and it’s not Inoue.”

Casimero left Manila for Miami via Los Angeles last Feb. 7. He set up training camp in the Florida city where strength and conditioning coach Memo Heredia is based. Heredia has brought in fabled Cuban boxing guru Pedro Roque to work the mitts with Casimero, lay out a fight plan and make him battle-ready for Inoue. Gibbons' son Brendan and veteran Filipino trainer/cutman Sugar Ting Ariosa are with Casimero in Miami. Casimero will relocate to Las Vegas on March 15.
Roque has been involved in boxing for 50 years and has piloted fighters to over 500 medals, including 11 Olympic golds. He earned a doctorate in sports from Moscow State University and trained a slew of Cuban standouts like Felix Savon, Joel Casamayor, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Roque, once named AIBA Coach of the Decade, defected from Cuba in 2010 and settled in Miami where he trains fighters in his “academy.” At the 2016 Rio Olympics, he coached the Azerbaijan men’s boxing team to a silver and a bronze.

No matter what the odds are, Gibbons said he’s confident Casimero will get the job done. “Casimero’s the complete package,” he said. “He’s smart, slick. He can punch, he shoulder-rolls, he can box. What makes him more special is he’s dangerous from round one to round 12. Casimero can knock you out cold whether it’s the first round or the last round.”

But Gibbons said Casimero’s not taking Inoue lightly. “The guy can punch,” he said. “He floored (Nonito) Donaire with a shot to the body. If Inoue couldn’t punch, he wouldn’t be where he is right now. That guy’s dangerous, too. You can get hit in the body and fall just like (Jhack) Tepora. You can get hit in the face and fall, too. You can never be sure who’s going down. But that’s the beauty of boxing. That’s what makes it exciting.”

It will be Inoue’s second fight in the US but first in Las Vegas. In 2017, Inoue made his US debut with a sixth round stoppage of Antonio Nieves in Carson City, California. “The majority of US fans have a good understanding of boxing,” said Inoue, quoted by writer Shin Sato on japan-forward.com. “I’m hoping to beat the opponent in a way that excites the American audience with lightweight-class speed and tactics. Considering how things are flowing, I’m aiming for a knockout finish.” Ironically, Inoue has hired two Filipino sparmates to prepare for Casimero----K. J. Cataraja and Albert Pagara.

Gibbons said he wouldn’t expect anything less than a knockout prediction from Inoue. “He’s undefeated and with a nickname of ‘The Monster,’ he brings all the confidence in the world and his belief that he’ll knock out Casimero,” said Gibbons. “But he has never been in with a fighter like Casimero who’s in his prime and is coming off the best year of his career.”

Gibbons said on April 25, Inoue will find out who the real “Monster” is. “Fight fans will see a coming out party that was eight years in the making,” he said. “Casimero will put an exclamation point to an already amazing career and this win will put him on the road to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.”


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


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