JOHNRIEL Casimero is back to his championship form after winning his third division world crown, the interim World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight division belt, with a stunning 12th round stoppage over up-and-coming Mexican Ricardo Espinoza last Sunday, Aprl 21, at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The 30-year-old Casimero knocked down Espinoza with a combination of solid punches in the 12th round. Espinoza beat referee Rudy Barragan’s count but Casimero immediately smothered him with a flurry of vicious blows that forced Barragan to wave the fight off in the 44-second mark.
“Casimero’s experience won him that fight,” said former world champion-turned-boxing coach Rodel Mayol, who stepped in as Casimero’s coach for Jhun Agrabio. “He lacked the conditioning but he made up for it with his experience as a veteran.”
Despite Casimero knocking down Espinoza in the sixth round, the scorecards were close after 11 rounds with the Ormoc City native winning only one of three scorecards, which puzzled Mayol.
“It could have ended in a draw or we could have lost,” said Mayol.
After 11 rounds, Judge Lou Moret had Casimero up 105-103, judge Pat Russell saw Espinoza winning 105-103, while judge Zachary Young saw it even at 104-104.
Casimero, the former International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight and flyweight champion, improved to 27-4 with 18 knockouts, while the 21-year-old Espinoza dropped to 23-3 with 20 knockouts.
With the right training and conditioning, Mayol still believes that Casimer can hang with the best bantamweights in the world.
“Yes, I think he can fight the best at 118,” he said.
Some of the best bantamweights are currently fighting in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament, wherein at the end of the tournament the belts from the WBO, IBF and World Boxing Association will be unified.
The regular WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete is slated to face WBA bantamweight super champion Nonito Donaire Jr. on April 27. (EKA)