John Riel Casimero vows spectacular finish in homecoming fight
MANILA, Philippines—John Riel Casimero only sees one ending to his homecoming bout against Namibian knockout artist Fillipus Nghitumbwa on Saturday.
Casimero, who has held titles in three different weight classes, is heavily favored to dispatch Nghitumbwa in their 12-round super bantamweight fight at Okada Manila Hotel and Casino in Parañaque City.
A mere victory, however, won’t satisfy Casimero.
“I am very excited for this fight. I am going to take his head off,” said Casimero during the pre-fight press conference on Thursday at Elorde Ballroom in Sucat, Parañaque.
Eager to get back in the world title picture, Casimero seeks a spectacular finish in his first fight on Philippine soil since August 2019 when he knocked out Mexico’s Cesar Ramirez in the 10th round.
But the 34-year-old Casimero (32-4, 22KOs) can’t afford to get too complacent against Nghitumbwa (12-1, 11KOs), who has his WBO Global belt on the line.
“I am ready for this fight. I am ready to go and ready to take this guy out. I am more than ready for Saturday,” said Nghitumbwa, who is fighting outside of his home country for the first time.
“It is an honor to be here and fight on such a big card. John Riel Casimero is a great boxer and a former world champion. Come Saturday night you will see that Fillipus Nghitumbwa is a special boxer. I just want the fight to be fair. I hope he throws the right punches because he likes to hit behind the head, and hopefully, he would not do that. Let us make it a clean fight,” said Nestor Tobias, manager and promoter of Nghitumbwa.
Casimero is coming off a second-round knockout of Japan’s Ryo Akaho last December and another convincing win on Saturday would mean bigger fights down the road for the Merida, Leyte native, who has seemingly turned over a new leaf following a string of blunders that had him stripped of the WBO bantamweight belt last year.
“We prepared really hard for this fight so that my brother could have a good performance. This is a must-see fight because we did not have it easy in training. Let us pray that nothing bad happens to the boxers,” said Jayson Casimero, John Riel’s brother and trainer.
Casimero is also making his debut under Treasure Boxing Promotion, which recently signed the hard-hitting Filipino to a contract last February.
“This will be the first time that we are promoting in the Philippines so we are hoping that it is going to be an amazing day. We know that there are a lot of Filipino boxers and we hope to promote more events in the future,” said Masayuki Ito, CEO of Treasure Boxing Promotion.