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Gibbons offers solution to Casimero problem

John Riel Casimero (right) believes he is the only fighter who can beat Naoya Inoue. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF John Riel Casimero

In the aftermath of Marlon Tapales’ botched bid to conquer Naoya Inoue and become an undisputed champion, the shadow of one man notorious for his rugged ways began to appear.

The name of John Riel Casimero, many consider as the guy who could topple the Japanese icon, has been mentioned a lot lately as a possible foe.

But given the dynamics of the fight game and Inoue’s fixed itinerary for 2024, it doesn’t look as if the Filipino three-division  titleholder could end up colliding with the Monster anytime soon.

Even before he mauled Tapales a few days ago in Tokyo, Inoue had already been booked to face mandatory challenger, Mexican banger Luis “Pantera” Nery, in May as an obligation to the World Boxing Council.

If he gets past the heavy-handed but soft-chinned Nery, he will clash with Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev for the second fight in 2024 and meet a third challenger before the year comes to a close.

Sean Gibbons, who used to run the affairs of Casimero before the two had a falling out during the pandemic, swears the Leyte-born puncher “is a long way down the list and it is Nery (who’s) next and Alhmadaliev and we’ll see who’s left standing.”

Despite their differences, Gibbons insists he will pick up his phone in the event Casimero dials his number although that is a remote possibility.

“Casimero? If he comes calling, I am not worried about that,” Gibbons, who heads the Manny Pacquiao-owned MP Promotions, said from Tokyo on Saturday.

Still, should Casimero decide to see Gibbons’ help, the American dealmaker won’t hesitate to pick up his phone.

“But if he was to call me? Absolutely, I (still) have a fondness for Casimero. We would love to help him.”

Reacting to Inoue’s stoppage of Tapales, Casimero admits Inoue has a lot of power and is quick.

But in the event he faces him, Casimero believes he will tame Inoue.

“I have fought a lot of great fighters and I beat them all,” Casimero, 33, said.

Since breaking up with Gibbons, Casimero has been unable to figure in a meaningful fight, having seen action once each in Korea, the Philippines and Japan against inferior opposition.

But that could all change if Casimero, now being managed by a Japanese group, decides to dial Gibbons’ number.


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