Second Overtime: John Riel Casimero's hunt for a Japanese "Monster" continues
By Homer D. Sayson
Fri, 26 Jun 2020
CHICAGO --- After wresting the WBO bantamweight title with a sensational third-round TKO over Zolani Tete last November 30 in Birmingham, England, John Riel Casimero has gotten insatiably hungrier.
And a lot greedier.
Unsatisfied with just one belt, he wants to solidify his rule of the 118-pound division by seeking a unification bout with Naoy Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs), the IBF and WBA title-holder nicknamed "Monster" for his savage history of violence.
Top Rank, Inoue's promoter in the U.S., quickly arranged the unification war, a surefire pay-per-view blockbuster, last April 25.
And then the coronavirus pandemic swept across the world. And in the words of Manny Pacquiao Promotions president Sean Gibbons: "the world went to hell."
But now, as boxing starts to open its doors for business with a bubble inside the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the 5-foot-4 pride of Ormoc City in the Philippines just got a little more giddy, his punches carrying an extra, malicious zip during workouts.
Since leaving Miami, where he trained for the original April fight date, Casimero and his team ---- which is composed of chief trainer Noynoy Neri, co-trainer Sugar Lucas, strength and conditioning coach Memo Heredia and John Riel's brother, Jason ---- have all converged in Sin City.
Their base of operation lies in a quiet stretch along Horseshoe Cliff Avenue, a nifty McMansion that sits just eight miles and 13 minutes away from the world-famous Vegas strip.
The spectacular abode has four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. A full kitchen with ceramic tiles services the champ's culinary needs while a laundry room is nestled idly in the upper level.
Outside, the splendor spills.
There is a giant pool to rinse the sweat of a hard day's work or to wash the doldrums away. A nice barbecue grill is tucked harmlessly in a corner where Neri repeatedly showcases his master grilling skills.
Casimero relaxes in the balcony overlooking the swimming pool.
More often than not, Pompano fish is the feast of choice. Tenderloin beef, which is a rich source of protein for the champ, is also a grill menu favorite.
Make no mistake, boredom and melancholy occasionally sets in, even when one is living inside the four walls of a decadent palace. After all, being quarantined and deprived of some personal liberties can be immensely challenging.
But John Riel and Team Casimero have risen above those inconveniences.
Casimero does the mitts with Nonoy Neri.
"He is staying sharp and focused," Gibbons, who oversees this entire championship camp, told this writer.
And that's no surprise.
Gibbons is a reputable and highly-respected five-star promoter and international matchmaker.
He expects nothing less.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.
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