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SPORTS SHORTS 5: RIGONDEAUX WANTS TO FIGHT CASIMERO WHO ACCEPTS THE CHALLENGE


PhilBoxing.com





Two-time Olympic gold medal winner Guillermo Rigondeaux challenged WBO bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero on a possible unification match on March or April next year. It would be the most significant fight for Rigondeaux since his loss to Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine in December 2017. Rigondeaux won the vacant World Boxing Association regular bantamweight title last February against Venezuelan Liborio Solís by spilt decision.

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Rigondeaux held the WBA (Regular) bantamweight title since February 2020 and the unified WBA (Super), WBO, and Ring magazine super-bantamweight titles between 2013 and 2017. Lomachenko defeated Rigondeaux for the WBO super featherweight championship on December 9, 2017 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Lomachenko and Rigondeaux are regarded as two of the best amateurs in history, with each boxer winning two Olympic gold medals. It was the first time double Olympic gold medal winners fought professionally and Lomachenko won by TKO when Rigondeaux quit after the 6th round due to an alleged left hand injury.

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After the defeat against Lomachenko, the 40-year-old veteran defeated two Mexican fighters Giovanni Delgado by 1st round KO and Julio Ceja by 8th round TKO, but none of these opponents were of the same level as Casimero who has been champion in three divisions. The boxer known as "Quadro Alas" was the WBO bantamweight champion since November 2019 and the IBF junior-flyweight titlist from 2012 to 2013 and the IBF flyweight title holder in 2016.

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"[Casimero is] the one I want. It's the perfect one for my desire to unify titles. I have the World Boxing Association and he owns the World Boxing Organization. So I have to go over him to take his title and keep adding wins over champions," Rigondeaux told George Ebro as quoted by Boxing Scene. "He's a veteran and I respect him as a champion, but I have [respect] for everyone and I know how to adapt to the opponent, whoever it is, when the bell rings."

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"Tara tol! Walang takbuhan! Basagan lang ng mukha (Let's go, bro! No running! Just destroying each other's face)!" Casimero said on social media as quoted by Roy Luarca of Rappler. The 30-year-old Ormoc City, Leyte native is known as a fearless fighter who won't backout from facing any deadly opponent. He was scheduled to face the dreaded "Monster" from Japan Naoya Inoue last April but was cancelled due to the pandemic.

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Rigondeaux, now 40-years old, born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba has 20 wins, 13 of these by KO, with only one loss to Lomachenko and one no contest with Moises Flores of Mexico. Casimero, on the other hand, has 30 wins, with 21 KO victories and 4 losses. He lost to South African Moruti Mthalane by 5th round TKO, to Mexican Ramón García Hirales by split decision, to Thailand's Amnat Ruenroeng by unanimous decision and to compatriot Jonas Sultan by unanimous decision.

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LeBron James moved past Oscar Robertson as No. 2 all-time Christmas Day scorer after finishing with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists on the Los Angeles Lakers win over the Dallas Mavericks, 138-115 at the Staples Center. Robertson scored a total of 377 points on 12 Christmas Day games with four triple doubles. James now has 383 on 15 Yuletide games. Kobe Bryant is still the top Christmas scorer with 395 in 16 games.

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Celebrated Mexican trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain boldly predicted that Saul "Canelo" Álvarez would be able to knock out Gennadiy Golovkin in case they would fight a third time in a much sought trilogy. He has seen Canelo vastly improved during the recent beating of undefeated super middleweight Callum Smith. “This time Canelo did convince me,” Nacho told ESPN Deportes. “I really liked the way he got past his opponent's guard, it wasn't easy, the other fighter is always good with the jab and in this fight it was very difficult for him to land the jab, which is one of his best shots."

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Nacho said that if Canelo would execute his hook to the liver better, he would finish off his opponents even sooner. He believes that killer punch would finish off Canelo's opponents. "It gave me the impression that if he had thrown [that punch] a little more at his opponent he would have made them stop the fight, but his performance was close to perfection," said Beristain as quoted by Miguel Rivera of Boxing Scene.

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Kai Sotto could not play with Gilas Pilipinas on the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers due to his commitments with G League team Ignite. The NBA G League will play a bubble tournament in February with 17 teams already showing interest, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. If the schedule pushes through, then Sotto will not be participating in Gilas Pilipinas' games in Clark. Sotto will suit up in his first season in the developmental league, where he will join his team with some of the top American high school stars and NBA veterans in Ignite. Gilas is scheduled to battle South Korea on February 18, Indonesia on February 20, and South Korea again on February 22 in their tough final Group A assignments.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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