Casimero enters lion's den anew

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 05 2012 12:04 PM | Updated as of Aug 05 2012 08:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Six months after his chaotic win in Argentina, IBF light-flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero returns to the ring today against undefeated Mexican Pedro Guevarra.

The fight will take place at the Centro de Convenciones in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, which is Guevarra’s hometown.

Casimero is not afraid to take on anyone, anywhere. Last February, he faced Luis Lazarte in Argentina, scored a knockout and almost got killed by angry Argentinian fight fans.

"After what happened in Argentina, he's no longer afraid of anyone," said Casimero’s manager, Sammy Gello-ani of the incident that almost led to a diplomatic protest from Filipino government officials.

Casimero defeated Lazarte for the interim title, but two weeks ago the IBF awarded him the world title after Mexican Ulises Solis failed to defend his title due to a broken jaw suffered in a street fight.

Casimero will climb the ring with a 16-2 record with 10 knockouts while Guevarra sports an 18-0-1 card with 13 knockouts.

But Guevarra is no pushover and is determined to wrest the title from the Filipino. If he does, then Casimero's reign as champion could be the shortest in history.

"I am here to defend what is mine, a title I won outside of my country and I will defend it again outside of my country,"Casimero told

Meanwhile, Filipino lightweight Mercito Gesta continued to shine under the bright lights of Las Vegas as he knocked out American Ty Barnett in the ninth round yesterday at the Texan Station Casino.

Word coming out of Mexico said Ana Julaton, the former world champion from the Philippines, also knocked out her opponent, Mexican Abigail Ramos, in just 19 seconds of the opening round yesterday.

The 24-year-old boxer from Mandaue City remained undefeated in 26 fights, 14 of them by knockout. He has fought his last 16 fights in the United States, and the last three in Vegas.

Gesta starred in ESPN’s Friday Night Fights and didn’t disappoint those who came to watch.

The heavily-tattooed Filipino used his left hand to the hilt, especially in the ninth round where Barnett went down after taking a couple of heavy shots to the head.

The native of Washington D.C. managed to beat the count of referee Jay Nady. But he took a couple more blows from Gesta and failed to stay on his feet.

Barnett went down again before the bell, and while he forced himself up, the referee decided that he’d had enough. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:59.

Gesta has been looking for the big fight, and the victory over Barnett, now 20-3-1, could serve as the stepping stone