WBO champ Casimero in jeopardy?

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Pinoy boxing fans hope all is fine and right in the John Riel Casimero camp.

Since the rise of the brash talking, social media darling boxer upon winning the World Boxing Organization’s bantamweight title against Zolani Tete on November 2019 and successfully defending it against Duke Micah on September 2020, things got to a downward spiral.

His troubles started quickly as the moment he reach the highest point of his career so far.

Upon securing a historic bantamweight title unification bout against Nonito Donaire on August this year, undesirable twists suddenly hounded the career path of “Angas ng Pinas”.

The supposedly first All-Filipino title fight was scrapped, primarily blamed on the excessive thrashtalking of Casimero that went way beyond boxing. This forced him to defend his title against original opponent Guillermo Rigondeaux.

It was still a high-profile fight by all means but it does not create the same impact as the Donaire fight.

You see, this fight was supposed to be a historic one because it was a first of its kind for Filipinos. The “Filipino Flash” and “Quadro Alas” are supposed to fight on August 14 to unify their World Boxing Council and WBO bantamweight titles.

It didn’t help Rigondeaux employed his running tactics and Casimero failed to adjust in countering the strategy resulting to a close split decision victory and the fight becoming a sleep inducer to lots of boxing fans.

Casimero still continued display his brash ways by concluding his post-fight interview with a flashing of the dreaded finger to WBA and IBF title holder Naoya Inoue of Japan.

Then came an announcement frenzy where the Casimero camp declared a December 11, 2021 fight date with Inoue, a direct contradiction to an alleged MP Promotions claim that the Casimero-Donaire bout would finally happen about the same date. Neither fights obviously came to fruition.

This is just one of many differences that the Casimero camp and MP Promotions could not settle on and eventually lead to a split.

Then came the WBO mandatory defense. It was surprising that MP Promotions did not participate in the purse bid in his Paul Butler defense resulting to promoter Probellum winning the bid that will set his share at just US$78,750, way below the amount expected for Casimero’s caliber. The fight will also be held at the hometown of the challenger

What happened next and how negatively impactful is it on Casimero’s career is a guess as good as anybody’s.

When no indications of any kinds of troubles in the happening of the bout, Casimero was a sudden no show during the weigh in although he was physically present in Dubai, the venue of the fight.

Casimero’s camp blamed it on “viral gastritis” and was clearly shown to have been admitted at an American hospital in UAE.

Many others speculated the real issue was trouble in making the 115 pound weight. Casimero’s camp did not deny the over weight problem but indicated they could have easily shed off the over a pound difference had not been for the illness.

WBO is still conducting its own investigation on the matter.

That’s not all.

Probellum, which was fully supportive of the Casimero camp decision at the start, is now howling in protest and requesting WBO to take a look at a Youtube post on Casimero’s Quadro Alas YouTube channel, raising possible issues on conversation exchanges among their team members about a doctor’s medical certificate on the botched weigh-in.

The boxing promotion outfit described the conversation as “disturbing” and is regarding the same as having bearing on WBO’s investigation.

Although the WBO eentually decided that Casimero retained his title, promoters might shy away from promoting his fights and opponents have been slowly becoming lukewarm in dancing with him in the ring.

Inoue recently announced in social media his feeling of  losing interest in fighting him. It will be recalled he already fought a different fighter after they were supposed to face each other.

Casimero is no doubt an exciting fighter to watch because he prefers to mix it up and does little running.

Attitude-wise, he’s proven he wants to be himself outside the ring. He may be brash and do trashtalking but that is a common personality among boxers. He’s the “you either love or hate” type of fighter.

Here’s hoping John Riel Casimero and his team could sort out whatever’s bugging them and get his promising career on track. When it comes to winning belts, he is still one of the Philippines brightest title producers in boxing.

By Armando M. Bolislis