THERE is only one thing on the mind of Johnriel Casimero today, and that is to put Anmat Ruenroeng to sleep.
“I’m going to knock him out,” Casimero told Sun.Star Cebu.
Casimero challenges 35-year-old Ruenroeng for his International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight crown in Bangkok, Thailand.
Some of the division’s best have tried to dethrone Ruenroeng - the likes of Zou Shiming, McWilliams Arroyo and Kazuto Ioka - but none have succeeded.
However, the 25-year-Casimero, the former IBF light flyweight champion, is brimming with confidence that he’ll be the one to hand Ruenroeng his first loss.
“I’m not even thinking about that (reaching a decision),” he said.
A knockout isn’t a long shot because Casimero has power in his fists and also because Ruenroeng has tasted the canvas before, getting knocked down in his last two fights against Shiming and Arroyo.
Casimero has been training in the US in preparation for this fight, sparring against either Americans or US-based fighters.
Casimero is 21-2 with 13 knockouts. He has knocked out his last three opponents, including a second round stoppage against Mexican Armando Santos, which earned him a title shot.
Casimero gained prominence after winning the IBF light flyweight strap with a knockout over Argentinian Luis Lazarte on his own turf in 2012, in a fight that escalated into a brawl. He successfully defended his crown four times before deciding to move up after relinquishing his belt in his last title defense.
Ruenroeng, a former Olympian, is 15-0 with five knockouts. He has won all his four world title bouts by decision.
“Yes that’s what I would do, be aggressive against him,” said Casimero, who is gunning for his second division title.
Casimero epitomizes the term “road warrior” because most of his big fights were fought in enemy territory. So don’t be surprised if Casimero does just what he promised because he has been in that situation many times before.