Boxing: Casimero now a main eventer, says MP Promotions boss

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2020 05:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- John Riel Casimero's promoter is confident that he will not have a hard time in getting fights for the Filipino boxer, especially after his explosive performance against Duke Micah over the weekend.

Casimero made his first successful defense of his WBO bantamweight belt on Saturday in Connecticut (Sunday in Manila) by knocking out Micah in the third round, after which he showed off by doing one-handed push-ups.

Sean Gibbons, the president of Manny Pacquiao (MP) Promotions, said Tuesday that Casimero's performance and even his antics after the fight impressed boxing stakeholders -- including Al Haymon, the founder of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), and Stephen Espinoza, the president of Showtime.

"I don't think it's difficult (to get fights for Casimero) anymore," Gibbons said at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. 

"Showtime president Espinoza, Al Haymon of PBC -- they're very excited. They want to know when they can get Casimero back on," he revealed. "It used to be difficult… (but) I think he finally found his home in the US now."

"Showtime loved his performance," he stressed.

Not only will there be plenty of fights available for Casimero, but he has also proven himself worthy of headlining a fight card.

Indeed, that is the goal for the Filipino boxer who seems reluctant to fight in undercards at this point in his career -- even if it's for an event featuring the legendary Manny Pacquiao.

When asked if he was willing to fight in the undercard should Pacquiao return to the ring in January 2021, Casimero said: "Oo, pwede tayo, pero mas maganda talaga na tayo 'yung main event."

Gibbons backed the fighter, saying: "You know what, Casimero could be on that show (Pacquiao's show), but he doesn't have to be on the undercard. He's a main eventer, he's a world champion."

"He made a great hit in the US," the promoter explained. "They're ready to bring him back and ready to fight a top guy. We're ready to fight main events on Showtime or FOX, wherever may be offered."

For Gibbons, the attention and hype that Casimero is getting is validation of sorts for him as well. The promoter noted that the brash Filipino has been showing what he is capable of all over the world, in countries like Argentina, Panama, and England. 

Now that Casimero is fighting in front of an American audience, boxing fans are seeing "what I saw from the last eight years," said Gibbons.

"Finally, he has an opportunity," added the promoter, who likened Casimero's performance against Micah to Pacquiao's demolition of South Africa's Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in 2001.

It was the fight that put Pacquiao on the map and got him on the road to superstardom.

"Duke Micah was Casimero's Ledwaba," Gibbons declared. "He opened everybody's eyes in boxing."