Boxing: Casimero shifts focus to Donaire, Inoue

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 15 2021 04:31 PM

John Riel Casimero of the Philippines in action against Cuba's Guillermo Rigondeaux
John Riel Casimero of the Philippines in action against Cuba's Guillermo Rigondeaux. Stephanie Trapp, Showtime

With business against Guillermo Rigondeaux taken care of, Filipino fighter John Riel Casimero is shifting his focus to the other champions in the bantamweight division.

Casimero defeated the Cuban Rigondeaux via split decision in a fight that featured little action, with both fighters combining to land a total of 91 punches over 12 rounds.

But the Filipino's aggression was enough to gain the nod of two of the three judges, allowing him to keep his WBO bantamweight title. It was Casimero's second defense of the belt that he won against Zolani Tete in November 2019.

"This is my plan, three people," Casimero told Showtime's Jim Gray after the fight, holding up three fingers. "First, Rigondeaux (is) finished."

Ticking off one more finger, he added: "Second, (Nonito) Donaire."

Finally, holding up his middle finger, Casimero concluded: "Next, (Naoya) Inoue."

Donaire holds the WBC version of the bantamweight belt, and was originally set to face Casimero in a title unification bout. However, talks broke down as both parties exchanged accusations, and Donaire called off the fight after Casimero insulted his wife, Rachel.

Japan's Inoue, meanwhile, is the WBA and IBF champion and tops The RING's rankings in the division. Casimero has long chased a fight against the "Monster," even before his camp tried to put together a fight against Donaire in July.

The 31-year-old Casimero wants to stay busy and remain on track to his goal of unifying the title belts in the division.

"Hopefully soon, lalaban na sila, hindi na sila matatakot," Casimero said in a separate interview with Quinito Henson. 


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