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Casimero: Lost in space


While Casimero remains active, he seems to be lost in space


TOKYO, Japan — In the aftermath of Naoya Inoue demolition of Marlon Tapales in a show of force in neighboring Yokohama on Tuesday, one familiar name was often heard being mentioned as a potential Naoya Inoue-killer.

That name belongs to no other than John Riel Casimero.

Tapales put on a brave stand against the widely-recognized pound-for-pound star, he was sadly no match to the destructive hands and dazzling speed of the Monster.

Heartbroken and angered Filipino boxing fans were quick to crave for revenge and they were all in unison in saying that Casimero who holds the key to slaying Inoue.

Casimero — like Inoue — has got heavy hands.

And like Inoue, the Filipino fighter has the swagger needed to psyche out the reigning undisputed world super-bantamweight titleholder.

But could it be done?

That’s the big question.

While Casimero remains active, he seems to be lost in space.

Managed by a new team, Casimero has fought thrice since breaking ties with the influential and well-connected Sean Gibbons after his win over Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2021.

In those three fights, Casimero has won only once by knockout and one by decision. Last time he fought in October at the Ariake Arena, he had to settle for a technical draw against Yukinori Oguni.

In that fight, Casimero seemed to be nowhere near his old self.

Even before the Oguni meeting, Casimero was lackluster against Fillipus Nghitumbwa of Namibia even though he scored a sensational knockdown earlier in the fight.

The latest is that Inoue is zeroing in on a mandatory defense against Mexican mauler Luis Nery in May.

He is expected to crush the hard-hitting but glass-chinned Mexican then make another appearance at 122 lbs before trying his luck and attempting to win a fifth crown in five weight classes in 2024.

Unless Casimero’s handlers make the right move, the three-division champion will likely be left out in the cold.

To remain relevant, Casimero has to change gears and look phenomenal in his next fight.

If he doesn’t, he won’t get that coveted chance to kill Godzilla.

And that’s going to add up to Philippine boxing’s collection of saddest stories.

In the meantime, I am signing off now from Japan.


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