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Sports

Reward for Casimero is Inoue

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Reward for Casimero is Inoue
WBO bantamweight champion JohnRiel Casimero
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said yesterday if WBO bantamweight champion JohnRiel Casimero retains his crown against England’s Paul Butler in Dubai on Dec. 11, his reward will be a big-money showdown with super WBA/IBF titlist Naoya (The Monster) Inoue in April, possibly in Japan.

But first things first. Casimero has to turn back Butler and according to his co-trainer Manny Melchor, the fight could be over within six rounds if the challenger engages the Filipino slugger. Melchor, who briefly held the IBF minimumweight crown in 1992, has teamed up with Casimero’s brother Jayson in training camp at the City Boxing Gym in San Diego. Casimero arrived in the US late October to get ready for Butler and scaled 140-145 pounds but now, he’s down to 120, only two over the bantamweight limit.

Melchor, 52, said he expects Butler to hit and run so Casimero has to cut the ring off to find a target for his bombs. “Boxer si Butler, ‘di fighter kagaya ni Casimero,” said Melchor. “Tatakbo ‘yan at alam niya malakas si Casimero. Magalaw, makamay si Butler kaya dapat ma-anticipate ni Casimero ang kaniyang movement, harangin niya at pressure. Puntos-puntos lang si Butler kaya kailangan agresibo si Casimero.”

Once Casimero enters Butler’s strike zone, Melchor said he has to come in firing. “Huwag siya papasok kung ‘di siya susuntok,” said Melchor. “Mahalaga ang jab sa depensa. Timing lang sa counter at mahuhuli ni Casimero si Butler. Huwag niya pabayaan umiwas. Si (Guillermo) Rigondeaux, naramdaman ang lakas ni Casimero sa first round kaya tumakbo hanggang dulo. Kung makipagsabayan si Butler, hihiga siya. Iba ang lakas ni Casimero. Sa mitts namin, namamaga mga kamay ko. Ang power niya kagaya ni Eric Chavez.” Melchor said he outpointed Chavez twice using in-and-out tactics. Butler will try to do the same against Casimero so Melchor said he’ll advise how to counter it. Chavez, a power puncher from Talisay, Cebu, was unbeaten in 28 fights when he stopped Indonesia’s Nico Thomas in the fifth round to claim the IBF 105-pound title in Jakarta in 1989.

Melchor said he won’t join Casimero in Dubai because of his full-time job as a trainer at the City Boxing Gym. Casimero, his brother Jayson and cutman Stephen Lunas are booked to leave for Dubai tomorrow. “Kaya yan ni Casimero, disiplinado siya sa training at mabait na tao,” he said. “Parang kidlat ang suntok niya. Pag tamaan niya si Butler ng solid, babagsak ‘yan kagaya ni (Zolani) Tete.”

JOHNRIEL CASIMERO
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