Casimero starts training for defense

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014


INTERNATIONAL Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight king Johnriel Casimero is ready for any opponent that will be thrown at him in his next title defense.

Casimero didn't waste any precious time and returned to the gym after the holiday season to start his training camp for his fourth title defense.

“It is still tentative. Yes it will be a mandatory title defense. We have started training. He is in the gym right now. We started last week,” Casimero's trainer Christopher “Ping-Ping” Tepora told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

Casimero will be defending his crown against Mauricio Fuentes in March. According to Philboxing.com, Fuentes was elevated by IBF as the mandatory challenger and will be facing Casimero on March 29 possibly in Manila.

Fuentes is currently ranked No. 12 in the IBF light flyweight rankings. The No. 1 and No. 2 slots are vacant, according to the world boxing sanctioning body's website.

If Fuentes will be named his opponent for his next fight, then the 23-year-old Casimero will be ready.

“Fuentes has power and shouldn't be taken for granted. We are working really hard for this fight,” said Tepora, the head trainer of the Omega Boxing Gym.

Casimero, 19-2 with 11 knockouts, snagged interim IBF 108-pound strap with a 10th round technical knockout victory over Argentine superstar Luis Alberto Lazarte in riot-marred bout in Argentina in 2012.

A few months after, he was elevated as the regular champion and had another successful title defense that year against Mexican challenger Pedro Guevara in Mexico.

Last year, Casimero defended his belt twice. He won by unanimous decision against Luis Alberto Rios in Panama and scored an 11th round technical decision over Mexican Felipe Salguero in Manila.

“We have to work on our combinations. I think we will look for sparring there at the ALA Gym because there are a lot of good boxers there,” said Tepora.

Last year, Casimero has been sparring at the ALA Gym with the likes of World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes, former world title challenger Milan Melindo and unbeaten prospect Arthur Villanueva.

The 24-year-old Fuentes is a Colombian that has a 16-2 slate with 10 knockouts. He is on a 13-fight winning romp but he has not fought in a 12-round fight. He has fought but lost to the likes of former world title contenders Jorle Estrada and Luis de la Rosa.

“Fuentes tends to stand in front and move inside. (Casimero's) advantage over him is that he is quick and has power,” said Tepora.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 15, 2014.

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