Johnriel Casimero stops Mexican foe to win WBO interim belt
MANILA, Philippines—Former world champion Johnriel Casimero pulled off a stunning 12th round knockout over Ricardo Franco Espinoza to come knocking at the door of yet another world title Sunday (Manila time) in Carson, California.
Casimero’s stoppage win earned him the WBO interim bantamweight belt and a clear shot at the world title now being held by Zolani Tete.
The South African Tete is set to face WBA champion Nonito Donaire Jr., on April 27 in the World Boxing Super Series slated in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The Tete-Donaire fight serves as semifinal for the $10 million WBSS.
But for Casimero, who hiked his record to 24 wins with 18 knockouts against four losses, his concern is how to get back to the world stage.
He rose to stardom after a spectacular 10th round KO of volatile Argentianian Luis Alberto Lazarte in Mar Del Plata in 2012. The bout ended in a riot that forced Casimero and his cornermen to hide underneath the boxing ring.
Fighting right after the main event featuring Danny Garcia and Adrian Granados at the near empty Dignity Health Sports Park, Casimero slugged it out with Espinoza, whom he floored in the sixth.
By the 12th it seemed the fight would end in decision, but the Filipino once again jolted the Mexican. Espinoza beat the count but was met with another barrage from Casimero forcing referee Rudy Barragan to halt the fight.
Quickly after scoring a KO win over Granados in the seventh, Garcia immediately called on Manny Pacquiao, the reigning WBA welterweight champion.
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