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Another path for Casimero


PhilBoxing.com



Casimero (L) and Butler (R).
It won’t be either WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, Jr. or IBF/WBA super titlist Naoya Inoue whom WBO ruler JohnRiel Casimero is fighting next. Casimero had hoped to take on Donaire or Inoue in a bid to begin the unification process but the WBO ordered the other day a mandatory defense against No. 2 contender Paul Butler of England instead. WBO championship committee chairman Luis Batista Salas instructed Casimero’s promoter Tom Brown and Butler’s promoter Lee Eaton to negotiate the bout within 20 days from receipt of the order with a purse bid to be conducted if there is a failure to agree to terms. If a purse bid is required, the minimum total will be $100,000 with Casimero assured at least a 65 percent share.

Casimero was slated to battle Guillermo Rigondeaux in Carson City last Aug. 14 then Donaire came into the picture to replace the Cuban. Things went sour between Casimero and Donaire, prompting the Filipino Flash to withdraw. Rigondeaux was brought back to engage Casimero and the fight proceeded in a boring yawner where the Filipino won by a split decision. Donaire and Casimero have since patched up but their match is on hold. Donaire has been ordered by the WBC to take on Reymart Gaballo in a mandatory defense while Casimero was given a similar advice by the WBO to stake his crown against Butler. It’s possible that the winners of both fights will face off so a Donaire-Casimero showdown remains an option in the horizon, assuming they brush off their challengers.

Butler, 32, is a former IBF bantamweight champion with a 33-2 record, including 15 KOs, and has never fought outside the UK. It’s likely his manager Eddie Hearn will insist on a fight in England. For Casimero, fighting on foreign soil is no issue. He’s won twice in the UK, thrice in the US, four times in Mexico and once each in China, Panama, Argentina and Nicaragua. MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons calls him “The Road Warrior.”

If the fight is held in England, Casimero will likely train in Las Vegas with strength and conditioning coach Memo Heredia before traveling to the UK so he falls under health protocol rules coming from an “amber” country instead of a “red.” The UK lists the US as “amber” and the Philippines as “red.” The protocol rules are less strict for travelers from “amber” countries. Gibbons said “everything is being explored” as he has the lead role to negotiate in Casimero’s behalf.

Between Casimero and Butler, they’ve battled fighters from at least 20 different countries making them virtual United Nations ambassadors. Butler has faced opponents from South Africa, Hungary, Bulgaria, Mexico, Iraq, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Romania, Nigeria, France, Tanzania and Nicaragua while Casimero’s victims came from Cuba, Ghana, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, UK, Thailand, Colombia, Panama and Argentina.

Butler, 32, was supposed to take on No. 1 contender Joseph Agbeko last June but the Ghanaian had visa issues so he was replaced by late sub Willibaldo Garcia of Mexico. Butler won by a split verdict and took the WBO International crown, gaining eligibility as a mandatory challenger. Butler has trained at the Wirral CP Gym in Cheshire since he was 10 and coaches amateurs. He’s been dubbed “The Baby-Faced Assassin” although his boxing style isn’t close to Marco Antonio Barrera’s. His two losses were inflicted by Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez whom Gaballo defeated, and South Africa’s Zolani Tete whom Casimero demolished.


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


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