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News  


GETTING TO KNOW JOHN RIEL CASIMERO


PhilBoxing.com




When the news came out a few months ago that John Riel Casimero signed with International promoter and matchmaker Sampson Lewkowicz, it raised eyebrows and also a lot of questions starting with “John Riel who?”. News of his WBO interim title shot also took boxing pundits by surprise.

So just who is John Riel Casimero?

He is a light flyweight who has fought under the radar since he turned pro in June 2007. He did win a Philippine title belt in 2008 against Rodel Quilaton but that was in far away Alcoy, Cebu. He won the WBO Asia Pacific light flyweight title two months later in Talisay City against Thai Liempetch Sor Veerapol by 5th round TKO.

When he had a chance to box on a televised fight card last May 2009 at the Cebu Coliseum, he was overshadowed by Marvin Sonsona’s stunning 2nd round KO win over Wandee Singwancha and Ramie Laput barely avoiding a roundhouse kick from Ratanachai Sor Vorapin in the 11th round.

But Casimero has remained undefeated. He has also continued to silently train at the gym that he now calls home. Two years ago, he left Ormoc City, Leyte and now lives inside the IPI Gym in Baranggay Guizo, Mandaue City, Cebu.

So when did the 20 year old gym rat take up boxing?

“I was 12 years old when I started. I used to get into a lot of street fights, one time I was fighting three guys at once. A boxing trainer saw me and asked if I was interested in becoming a boxer.”

Casimero is a former national amateur boxing champion. He finished fourth year high school and used to play soccer during interschool meets. He still does during his spare time. If he did not fight professionally, he would have wanted to become a policeman.

His dream opponent?

“Ivan Calderon. I don’t think his defensive style will bother me.”

Casimero has sparred with Richard Betos and Fernando Lumacad at the IPI Gym. He has been training for more than four months now and claims to have sparred 300 rounds already and has reached the 12 round distance thrice during sparring. He also does his early morning roadwork running up the Busay Hills.

Casimero is the second of four siblings. His father is not a prize fighter but his brother, Jason recently turned pro. John Riel goes back home to Leyte after a fight. He has never been knocked down and the only time he bled due to cuts inflicted by head butts.

“My weight will not be a problem,” he said. “I weigh now 115 and I know I can easily make 108 during the official weigh-in.” Casimero says he weighs 125 if he doesn’t train.

Christopher Pingping “The Sting” Tepura, a former pro boxer, trained Johnriel when he was already an eight rounder. He praised Casimero’s work ethic and is confident of victory. Nonito Donaire,Sr. will also join their training camp and they plan to leave for Nicaragua early on December 9.

Casimero will fight for the WBO interim lt.flyweight belt against Cesar Canchila of Colombia in Managua, Nicaragua on December 19 as the headliner for the special boxing event IN MEMORY OF ALEXIS "EL FLACO EXPLOSIVO" ARGUELLO, the legendary Nicaraguan three division champion.

Casimero is confident that he can make an explosive debut on the world stage and a victory will propel him closer towards his dream of facing WBO champ Ivan Calderon.

(Bottom photo: Casimero with trainer Pingping Tepura during the Friday evening interview)





Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rene Bonsubre, Jr..


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