MANILA, Philippines – Johnriel Casimero lost his championship on the scales, but gained a measure of redemption after demolishing Colombian opponent Mauricio Fuentes at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.
Casimero was five pounds over the limit during the weigh-in, and lost his IBF light-flyweight title before trading a single blow against Fuentes.
On fight night, Casimero dropped Fuentes three times in the opening round, and the final knockdown forced referee Gerard White to call a stop to the contest.
Fuentes would have become the new world champion had he beaten Casimero, but the Filipino gave him no chance as he swarmed the Colombian, his right hand landing regularly.
The bout was stopped at the 2:59 mark of the opening round.
With Casimero’s victory, the IBF belt is now vacant. A part of Casimero’s fight purse also went to Fuentes due to the Filipino’s weight advantage at fight time.
Before the fight, Casimero vowed to bounce back and apologized for failing to make the 108-pound limit. He came in at 113 pounds during the weigh-in, while Fuentes weighed exactly 108 pounds.
“Nag-monitor naman kami, pero hindi na talaga kaya ng katawan ko,” Casimero said, as quoted by The Philippine Star. “Sa isip kaya, ang katawan ko, suko na.”
“Nagsisisi kami, kasi pinag-hirapan namin ang title na ito, tapos natalo lang sa weigh-in,” he added.
The 24-year-old Casimero memorably won the IBF belt by beating Argentina’s Jose Luiz Lazarte in a bout that was marred when Lazarte’s supporters rioted.
Casimero defended the title three times – against Pedro Guevara in Mexico and Luis Alberto Rios in Panama, and then against Felipe Salguero in Makati.