Fighting close to home

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013


EVEN though International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero’s opponent for his title defense next month is still unknown, he and his team are ecstatic at the thought of finally fighting in home soil after several fights in hostile territory.

“He started training last week. We are very happy that the fight will be in the Philippines. We won’t be afraid that there will be any cheating,” Christopher “Ping-Ping” Tepora, Casimero’s coach, told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

The 23-year-old Cebu-based world champion is having his third title defense on July 21 at the Araneta Coliseum in Metro Manila.

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Casimero and his team said they had bad experience fighting in foreign soil. After stopping Argentinean star Luis Alberto Lazarte in the 10th round of their interim IBF light flyweight title clash last year in Mar del Plata, Argentina, a mob of disgruntled fans stormed the ring and attacked them. Casimero and his team luckily went back home in one piece.

Casimero, 18-2 with 10 knockouts, started his sparring yesterday and had good workout against stable mate Vergilio Silvano at the Omega Boxing Gym.

“He just started sparring earlier. We still don’t have an opponent. We are still waiting for Sir Sammy’s (Gello-ani) signal,” said Tepora. “He sparred with Vergilio Silvano for four rounds. His movement was good, but we will work harder for his conditioning.”

After being crowned the regular champion, Casimero had two successful title defenses in Mexico and in Panama. He escaped a close split decision against Mexican Pedro Guevara and ran away with lopsided unanimous decision over Panamanian Luis Alberto Rios.

The undercard is stacked with talent. Former world champion Marvin Sonsona (16-1-1, 13 KOs) makes a ring comeback as he takes on Tanzanian Allan Kamote (20-6-4, 12 KOs) in a non-title bout.

World Boxing Organization (WBO) Youth flyweight titleholder Froilan Saludar (16-0-1, 11 KOs) defends his crown against 19-year-old Tanzanian prospect Fadhili Majiha (13-3-4, 6 KOs).

WBO Asia-Pacific light welterweight titlist Jay Solmiano (17-2-1, 13 KOs) also defends his belt against unbeaten former amateur standout Adones Cabalquinto (14-0, 8 KOs).

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 12, 2013.

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