By Rene Bonsubre Jr – It doesn’t happen every day or even every year that boxing fans get their wish. But less than a month after Christmas, news of a looming unification bout between Japanese superstar and WBA/IBF unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue and the mercurial Filipino, WBO bantamweight king John Riel Casimero lit up social media.
The report by Keith Idec on Boxingscene stated that Inoue’s first fight with Top Rank will be against Casimero on April 25 in Las Vegas. Filipino fight fans started voicing their opinions online, including those who look at the Japanese as the obvious favorite.
Which actually poses the question – Will the real John Riel Casimero will show up on fight night?
The 30 year old Casimero (29-4,20KO’s) has been a hot or cold fighter.
In his first career loss, a split verdict to Mexican Ramon Garcia Hirales, the fight was pretty much up for grabs in the later rounds but Casimero couldn’t pull it off. Eight months later, he capitulated in the fifth round against South African Moruti Mthalane.
For most boxers, those back to back setbacks would have sunk their careers. But Casimero captured the IBF light flyweight title and had three defenses before losing his belt at the scales
He was bullied and roughed up by Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng in his first attempt at the IBF flyweight crown but was brilliant in the rematch, stopping Ruenroeng in four rounds. He looked formidable in his defense against Charlie Edwards of the U.K. but looked below average when he moved a division higher and lost to countryman Jonas Sultan by unanimous decision.
But in a bold attempt to win a third world title at bantamweight, Casimero had four straight eye-catching bouts – a brutal battering of Japanese Kenya Yamashita, a twelfth round stoppage of Mexican Ricardo Espinoza Franco in close fight, blasting another Mexican Cesar Ramirez in ten rounds and the much talked about upset title win against South African Zolani Tete in Birmingham.
The third round stoppage of Tete was coming at the heels of Inoue’s Fight of the Year against the Filipino Flash Nonito Donaire. Casimero immediately called out Inoue after the fight.
Casimero, who sports the moniker “Kuadro Alas” which means Four Aces, has shown time and again that despite his inconsistencies, he can pull a winning card.
Fans know what to expect from Inoue (19-0,16KO’s). We have witnessed his destructive power that enabled him to win world titles at 108, 115 and 118 lbs. Name fighters like Adrian Hernandez, Omar Narvaez, Kohei Kono, Jamie McDonnell,Juan Carlos Payano and Emmanuel Rodriguez were all felled by the Monster.
The fight against Donaire also answered questions about the 26 year old Inoue’s capability to fight an opponent who is also equally capable of hurting him.
John Riel’s brother and frequent companion during training, Jayson Casimero, had a short chat with this writer and was obviously excited about the fight. He said they already expected the fight and showed a recent post by Inoue on social media talking about the said match-up.
“The plan is to go to the United States and train in Miami starting February,” Jayson said, “ We will shock the entire boxing world.”
Casimero himself has made his intentions clear. On his Facebook page, he posted: I feel great, I want to shock the world, Kwadro Alas Monster Killer!