Strong push for gifted Mr. Overweight
The knockout win by the perennially overweight Johnriel Casimero on Saturday was as significant as it can get. Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who reported at ringside in the San Andres Sports Complex, Manila, readily vowed to have Casimero fight for the regular world bantamweight crown possibly in November.
Casimero, 30, toppled Cesar Ramirez at least three times in the earlier rounds before crushing the rangy Mexican with a thundering left-right combination in the 10th round that saw the visitor landing flat on his back, eyes rolling and mouth guard gone.
It was actually the lone win by a Filipino in three world title fights over the weekend.
Vic Saludar lost his WBO minimum weight crown in Puerto Rico to Wilfredo Mendez while Carlo Penalosa suffered a technical decision loss against Mexico’s Maximo Flores in their IBO world flyweight fight in Novaliches.
Casimero’s victory did not come easy. He had to plod hard while visibly tiring out during the tough give-and-take encounter.
Casimero, as he had done in most of his major fights, struggled on the weighing scales. He was eight pounds over on his first try and had to use the sauna bath for nearly two hours before returning for the final weight test.
There were reports Casimero had to allow his thick ponytail to be cut off in order to make the 118-lb limit.
WBO Asia-Pacific representative Leon Panuncillo said negotiations would be started immediately for the Casimero challenge to South African Zolan Tete, listed as the WBO regular bantamweight champion.
Pacquiao, who showed up in flashy red shirt, said he wanted to give Filipino fighters even chances on the world stage.
The victory could signal the reformation of Casimero, who had an up-and-down journey in boxing, with troubles caused mainly by lack of discipline and excess poundage.
He had ballooned to as much as 147 pounds weeks before his last fight, but has supposedly vowed to keep a hold of himself to chief trainer Nonoy Neri. He has a record of 24 wins, 4 losses, with 19 knockouts.
Meanwhile, big-punching Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo returns to the local ring for the second time this year after nearly two years of inactivity caused by contractual conflict.
Magsayo, 18-0, 14 KOs, takes on Thaiand’s Uthok Panya for the WBC Asia featherweight title in his hometown Tagbilaran, Bohol.
Panya stopped ALA Stable star AJ Banal for the WBO bantamweight crown at the Mall of Asia in 2012.
There’s great interest in Magsayo, touted to be a Pacquiao successor before his unfortunate sidelining.
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