MANILA, Philippines – Filipino light-flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero and his team are happy to finally get a chance to show off the boxer’s skills in front of his fellow Pinoys when he defends his title next month.
Casimero, who holds the International Boxing Federation (IBF) light-flyweight belt, will defend the title against a still unknown opponent on July 21 at the Araneta Coliseum.
It will be his first title defense in Philippine soil since winning the belt last February 2012 in Argentina, and his first fight in the country since October 2011.
“We are very happy that the fight will be in the Philippines,” Casimero’s trainer Christopher Tepora told Edri K. Aznar of Sun Star Cebu.
“We won’t be afraid that there will be any cheating,” Tepora added.
Casimero was involved in one of the most notorious fights in recent boxing history. When he defeated Argentina’s Luis Alberto Lazarte last year to win the title, the Argentine fighter’s supporters rioted, forcing Casimero and his team to hide under the ring.
Even though the 23-year-old Casimero is not yet sure who he will be fighting, he has already started training for his title defense.
“He started training last week…. He just started sparring earlier,” Tepora said. “His movement was good, but we will work harder for his conditioning.”
Casimero is defending the IBF belt for the third time. He defeated Pedro Guevara in Mexico last August 2012 for his first title defense, then outpointed Luis Alberto Rios in Panama last March.