Casimero and Tete throw hands Saturday night in Birmingham, England
By Bill Tibbs
World champion John Riel Casimero (28-4, 19 KO’s) will challenge WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KO’s) on Saturday night at Arena Birmingham in Birmingham, England.
As much as winning the title, Casimero will be looking to impress the big man, MP Promotion’s boss Manny Pacquiao, who is an 8-weight class world champion and the idol of all things boxing in the Philippines.
Casimero fights for Pacquiao’s “MP Promotions” and, like all fighters out of the Philippine’s, getting the stamp of approval from legend Pacquiao means as much as anything.
While this fight is the only thing on his mind right now, there is lots of talk that the winner could face undefeated, red-hot IBF and WBA champion Naoya Inoue of Japan sometime down the road in 2020.
While Tete is as tough a challenge as there is out there for Casimero, there is no reason to believe he can’t grab the win and look for bigger things in the new year. Casimero turned pro 12-years ago and had a world title around his waist by his 14th fight, winning the WBO world light flyweight title in 2009.
After going 1-2 in his next 3 bouts he was again a world champion winning the IBF world light flyweight title in February of 2012. He made 4 defenses of the title before challenging for the world flyweight title in June of 2015 against Amnat Ruenroeng.
While he would come up short on that decision, he would KO Ruenroeng a year later to win the belt. He then made one defense against undefeated Brit Charlie Edwards in September of 2016. Struggling to make weight, Casimero looked to move up and went 3-1 over the next couple of years before capturing the (interim) WBO bantamweight title in April of this year.
Now, after one title defense in August, he is set to take on South Africa’s Tete. Some media reports have put Tete in as a favorite and are already talking about a bout later next year against Inoue.
But, Team Casimero, backed by Casimero advisor Sean Gibbons, is confident he will win the title and bring it back home to the Philippine’s where the road warrior would love to make a title defense.
In a recent interview, Gibbons, of Las Vegas Nevada, who along with Pacquiao, will be in England this weekend for the fight, said that he, “told the Senator (Pacquiao) that Casimero had a tremendous camp and we want nothing less than a victory.”
Gibbons also reported that, “Casimero is one of the most exciting fighters in boxing and he is a road warrior. He is used to winning big fights on the road, that is what he does”, enthused Gibbons. “And, he’s going to do it again”, he said. “He’s going to win the title and bring it back home to his beloved country. He, like Manny, fights for his people in the Philippines and he will win this fight for them”, said Gibbons.