Casimero to put âturtleâ to sleep
WBO bantamweight champion JohnRiel Casimero
STAR/File
Casimero to put ‘turtle’ to sleep
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — WBO bantamweight champion JohnRiel Casimero, holed up in a hotel undergoing a 14-day quarantine in Ormoc, said yesterday he plans to go back to the US in January and get ready for his next fight, maybe against super WBA/IBF ruler Naoya Inoue but while at home for the holidays, it’ll be business as usual in the gym to stay in shape.

Casimero, 31, arrived in Manila from Los Angeles with his brother Jayson last Tuesday after a nine-month stay. They flew to Ormoc last Friday. Casimero trained in Miami and Las Vegas before knocking out previously unbeaten Duke Micah of Ghana in Connecticut to register the first defense of his WBO crown last Sept. 26. He was supposed to fight Inoue last April but Top Rank CEO Bob Arum canceled the duel because the “Monster” couldn’t book a flight out of Japan due to travel restrictions. Now that Casimero is back in the Philippines, Inoue was scheduled to land in Las Vegas yesterday and will face Australian Jason Moloney in Las Vegas on Oct. 31.

“Hinintay akong umalis bago siya dumating,” chuckled Casimero. “Tinawag ko siya ng Japanese Turtle pero ‘di siya nag-react, deadma lang. Hindi raw siya takot sa akin. Sabi niya, malakas ako sumuntok, ‘di naman siya tatamaan. Balak kasi niyang tumakbo. Ang masasabi ko lang, ‘di siya makakaiwas sa akin, tatamaan at patutulugin ko siya.”

Casimero said he’s not interested to watch Inoue fight Moloney on TV. “Wala ‘yan si Moloney,” he said. “Isang laban lang ni Inoue ang pinanood ko, yung kontra kay (Nonito) Donaire. Sana next fight ko si Inoue. Kung ‘di matuloy, baka umakyat ako sa 122 at labanan ko si (WBC superbantamweight champion Luis) Nery.”

Casimero said before leaving the US, MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons told him to take care of his body during the holidays. “Takot si Sir Sean ako lumaki,” he laughed. “Focus lang ako, maraming gym sa Ormoc. Si Jayson kasama ko sa training. ‘Di ako magpapabaya. Kahit sino humarap sa akin sa timbangan, lalabanan ko. Si Donaire, lalaban kay (Nordine) Oubaali para sa WBC title. Tingin ko, 100 percent mananalo si Donaire kung aggressive siya at maganda ang training niya. Magaling si Donaire kaya lang sa laban niya kontra Inoue, ‘di siya masyadong gumalaw, nasa harap lang siya. Kung ibalik ni Donaire ang kaniyang aggressiveness at galaw, talo si Oubaali. Pwede kong labanan si Donaire, no problem. Trabaho lang.”

Casimero brought back a bundle of toys and clothes for his two kids. He got a tablet for his two-year-old daughter who’s fond of watching videos on YouTube. “Hindi ko pa sila nakikita,” he said. “Sabik na sabik ko silang makita.” When he returns to the US, Casimero said he’ll be with either Nonoy Neri or Jhun Agrabio as trainer, whoever is available.

JOHNRIEL CASIMERO
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