Casimero to defend WBO crown against undefeated African today
Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - September 27, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  It may not exactly be the moment he’d been waiting for but three-division world champion John Riel “Cuadro Alas” Casimero remains thrilled and excited as he finally gets to see action in the ring after a long and agonizing eight-month wait.

Casimero, the reigning WBO bantamweight champion, set foot on Las Vegas last February for his unification bout with IBF/WBA 118-pound titlist Naoya “Monster” Inoue of Japan scheduled in April but the megafight was pushed back to a later date because of the coronavirus pandemic.

After several postponements, the hotly-anticipated showdown was eventually called off by Top Rank promoter Bob Arum apparently due to economic reasons, forcing MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons, the handler of Casimero, to look for another option.

It did not take long for Gibbons to decide to let the fighting pride of Ormoc City defend first his WBO crown first now.

And the time has come for Casimero (29-4, 20KOs) to put his WBO belt on the line for the first time against the undefeated African challenger Duke Micah (24-0, 19KOs) of Ghana this morning (Phl time) at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Both protagonists showed their readiness to rumble after successfully making weight during yesterday’s official weigh-in.

In sharp contrast to his earlier hardline rhetoric that he is going to vent all frustrations from his scrapped “Monster-hunting” quest on Micah, the 31-year-old Casimero has mellowed down a little bit.

He made it loud and clear though that he is dead set on keeping his throne whatever it takes.

“I’m asking the support of all my fans because I’m bringing the name of the Philippines in this fight. Please help me pray for my success. This is a big opportunity to show the world who I am,” said Casimero.

“It’s going to be a great fight and I promise to give my best,” he added. “But if there’s a chance I’m going to knock him out, why not?”

Going into the match, the power-punching Casimero is the heavy favorite.

But he must be extra careful.

The 28-year-old Micah knows very well that he is in for an uphill battle against a dangerous foe with vast experience but he is poised and determined to unseat Casimero.

“I’ve never been more ready for a fight than I am for this one. Casimero is a good boxer but I’m a different fighter than I’ve been in the past,” said the New York-based Micah. “My opponent is a mature boxer with good experience, but I’m going to be too strong for him. I believe I’m the best at 118-pounds.”

JOHN RIEL CASIMERO
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