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Casimero gets revenge against Ruenroeng, wins IBF title

John Reil Casimero. Photo by Amanda Westcott
Fighters Network

You could see it in Johnriel Casimero’s face as he glared at his vulnerable opponent during the second and final knockdown of Amnat Ruenroeng. Casimero stuck out his tongue at the reigning IBF flyweight titleholder, who could only cover his face to avoid eating a gratuitous shot on the way down.

Casimero had waited 11 long months for revenge following their foul-filled first fight in June of 2015, which Ruenroeng won by unanimous decision, despite being allowed to body slam his opponent with impunity.

This time around, the Thai fighter went down as Casimero (22-3, 14 knockouts) stopped previously unbeaten Ruenroeng (17-1, 5 KOs) at 2:10 of Round 4 at the Diamond Court in Beijing, China.

Casimero, 26, of Ormoc City, Philippines, busted the fight wide open early in Round 4 when a counter left hook found the jaw of Ruenroeng, 36, of Chonburi, Thailand. The Thai, who had been knocked down in their first meeting only to have Larry Doggett rule it a slip, was visibly dazed upon rising and began to raise his arms to avoid another shot to the chin.

That gave Casimero the opening for the left hook to the body from which Ruenroeng could not recover.

The pre-fight weigh-in was marred by confusion after both fighters initially weighed in over the 112-pound weight limit, with Ruenroeng coming in at 117.75 pounds and Casimero weighing in at 113.25.

The IBF, which was hosting the fight at its annual convention, later said that weigh-in at the Great Wall of China was only a photo opportunity, and that the ground was not level, according to a report by Jake Donovan. The IBF spokesperson added that both men made the weight officially at the hotel.

Casimero is now a two-division titlist, having reigned from 2012 to 2014 as IBF junior flyweight titleholder before losing the belt after missing weight. Ruenroeng entered the fight rated No. 2 at flyweight by THE RING while Casimero was rated No. 10.

The Philippines now boasts three current major beltholders as Casimero joins WBO junior featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire and RING junior flyweight champion Donnie Nietes.

In the co-featured fight, unheralded Colombian Jose Antonio Jimenez (17-5-1, 7 KOs) rose off the canvas to defeat former WBC strawweight titleholder Chao Zhong Xiong (26-7-1, 14 KOs) by split decision. One judge saw the fight 116-111 for Xiong, who is rated No. 8 by THE RING at 105 pounds, while the other two both scored it 114-113 for Jimenez.




Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.



July 2016

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