Johnriel Casimero’s British experience
Last Saturday, Johnriel Casimero successfully retained his IBF flyweight crown with a 10th round stoppage against the game but overpowered Charlie Edwards in front of throngs of the young Brit’s fans in support of Gennady Golovkin-Kell Brook at the O2 Arena in London.
It was an unforgettable occasion for Casimero, who improved his record to 23-3 (15 knockouts).
“My first title defense in England was a memorable one,” Casimero told RingTV.com through his promoter Samson Gello-ani. “It was my first time in England and first experience of a huge boxing event with stars in boxing headlined by Triple G vs. Brook. (I) am very happy to be a part of this kind of exposure worldwide with coverage on Sky Sports and HBO.”
Though he openly admits to being frustrated by the fleet footed Brit.
“I was happy that I was able to finally catch (Edwards) in the 10th round, as we had prepared for him,” he explained. “Our game plan worked during the fight but I have to admit he is too fast, hence I have difficulty catching him.”
The seasoned Filipino endured a near-15-hour journey to London, arriving the Sunday before the fight. The Cebu resident is arguably the best road warrior in the sport. He has fought all over the globe, in locales such as Nicaragua, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Panama, Thailand, China and now England, usually with success.
Those experiences have clearly help mold Casimero, who was ahead, at the time of the stoppage, on all three judges’ scorecards. He felt in control of the bout prior to the finish.
“I was not bothered that the fight is in my opponent’s home,” said the 26-year-old puncher. “I am used to this kind of crowd and it definitely was NOT a major concern or hindrance for my fight.”
Having won his first title in February of 2012 against Luis Alberto Lazarte – the IBF junior flyweight title and facing a riot in Argentina afterward – he was prepared for anything.
“I have been a road warrior and fighting in England is my best experience,” he proudly said. “First I was involved in a big card with coverage on Sky Sports and HBO.
“It was a great and memorable experience in England. Although, at the start of my fight, the crowd was for Edwards being a home fighter. But after I won the fight, I have received and felt the love and admiration of the boxing fans.
“It was a nice experience too meeting in person boxing stars like ‘Triple G,’ Bernard Hopkins, (Paulie) Malignaggi, (several members of the) cast from ‘Game of Thrones’ (Writer’s note: Alfie Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy in the popular TV series, asked for and was given a Casimero hat) and (Manchester United) footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and, of course, the one and only Michael Buffer.”
It is still early days and there is no plan for what is next but both Gello-ani and his agent Sean Gibbons want the same fight for their fighter.
“As of now, we have not finalized the plan with (co-promoter) Sampson Lewkowicz,” explained Gello-ani. “It would be good if Casimero can still defend his title before the year-end. Unifying the title is a dream for next year and possibly move up to junior bantamweight and fight (THE RING/WBC flyweight/WBC super flyweight champion Roman) ‘Chocolatito’ (Gonzalez) is what Casimero has always wanted.”
Gibbons concurs, “I see Johnriel as one of the top fighters at 112-to-115. He can fight anyone out there. The goal is to fight the best and the best is ‘Chocolatito.’ We welcome that fight for November or December and would love to get Casimero on HBO, where he belongs.”
After his performance on the weekend and the way he was greeted by fans and fellow boxers, it’s hard to disagree.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright.
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