Boxing: Casimero stripped of WBO bantamweight title

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2022 03:09 PM | Updated as of May 04 2022 04:33 PM

John Riel Casimero of the Philippines reacts as he fights against Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba during their 12-round WBO Bantamweight World Championship fight at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, USA, 14 August 2021. File photo. Etienne Laurent, EPA-EFE.
John Riel Casimero of the Philippines reacts as he fights against Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba during their 12-round WBO Bantamweight World Championship fight at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, USA, 14 August 2021. File photo. Etienne Laurent, EPA-EFE.

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino boxer John Riel Casimero has been stripped of his WBO world bantamweight championship, the World Boxing Organization announced.

This after Casimero's failure to defend his title against Paul Butler of the United Kingdom last April 22 in Liverpool, England. 

The WBO World Championship Committee said that Casimero, 33, has failed to comply with their resolution in the wake of his withdrawal from his bout against Butler in December 2021, where he missed the weigh-in.

Casimero was allowed to keep his belt at the time after providing documents to the WBO where he said he suffered from gastritis. However, the WBO Championship Committee stressed that the Filipino boxer must comply with "specific terms and conditions," namely: 

- "In the event that John Riel Casimero does not attend the official weigh-in for any reason whatsoever, the WBO Bantamweight Championship Title will be declared 'Vacant;'" and

- "In the event that John Riel Casimero is injured or suffers an injury, refuses to fight, or is unavailable to participate, fight, or engage for any reason whatsoever, the WBO Bantamweight Championship Title will be declared 'Vacant,' and John Riel Casimero shall be rated in the WBO Bantamweight World Ratings per the ABC and WBO Rating Criteria, respectively."

Casimero was unable to defend his title against Butler last month after allegations made by the British Boxing Board of Control that he used a sauna ahead of their scheduled bout. 

The British boxing board strictly forbids boxers from using saunas to lose weight, and fighters who break or are suspected of breaking this rule "will be refused permission to box without exception."

Moreover, the BBBoC also noted an "alarming weight reduction" made by Casimero, who allegedly lost 10 pounds in a three-day span.

Casimero's team responded to a show-cause order by the WBO after he was not allowed to fight Butler. Ultimately, however, the WBO Championship Committee found that he failed to comply with the provisions they set for the Filipino.

"The wording of such condition is unambiguous, clear, and definite," they said.

The committee thus unanimously recommended to its Executive Committee that Casimero be stripped of their bantamweight belt, and Butler -- who became the interim champion after beating Jonas Sultan -- now be declared the full champion.

It was also recommended that Casimero be rated No. 1 in the WBO's bantamweight ratings.

Click here for the full WBO resolution on Casimero.