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John Riel Casimero starches Cesar Ramirez in 10, sets up Zolani Tete showdown

John Riel Casimero, seen here against Ricardo Espinoza Franco. Photo by Jhay Oh Otamias

John Riel Casimero held up his end of the deal, scoring four knockdowns against Cesar Ramirez before closing the show with a single right hand at the 2:23 mark Saturday at the San Andres Civic & Sports Center in Metro Manila, Philippines.

The final knockdown – a right hand that snapped Ramirez’s head violently before he hit the canvas – led to the bout being called off without a count.

The payoff comes in the form of a mandatory title shot against WBO bantamweight titleholder Zolani Tete – expected within 90 days – as he held on to the interim title he won in April with a twelfth round knockout of Ricardo Espinoza Franco.

Wbo Bantamweight Interim TitleCasimero won by 10round Knock out Over Ceasar Ramirez of Mexico

Posted by Fightnews ASIA on Saturday, August 24, 2019

With promoter Manny Pacquiao at ringside, Casimero (28-4, 19 knockouts) started slowly against the crafty Ramirez (18-4, 11 KOs) of Tepic, Mexico. Casimero finally broke through in the third, sending his opponent down with a right hand high on the head.

Ramirez fought with purpose, landing long right hands against Casimero as he pulled straight back and worked his way in. Casimero was credited with another knockdown in the fifth, though it appeared that he had dragged Ramirez down after missing a punch over the top.

“If John Riel Casimero wasn’t a three time world champion…That guy was like the Pacquiao-Thurman in the middle rounds, he was coming,” said MP Promotions matchmaker Sean Gibbons, who has been with Casimero on and off for most of the decade.

Casimero, 30, previously held world titles at 108 and 112 pounds before getting his career back on track in 2019 as a 118-pounder.

The body punching from Casimero eventually began draining the fight from the determined challenger, who went down again in the seventh.

Gibbons says he’ll reach out to the WBO on Monday morning to get the ball rolling on a fight with Tete (28-3, 21 KOs), the rangy southpaw from South Africa who has made three defenses of the belt. Tete hasn’t fought since defeating Mikhail Aloyan last October in the World Boxing Super Series, which he withdrew from the week of his unification fight with Nonito Donaire in May due to a right shoulder injury.

“Now we tell Zolani Tete, you better get that full belt because Casimero is coming for it,” said Gibbons, who adds that the Philippines could be a viable option with TV and sponsor support, as well as the United Kingdom, where Tete’s promoter Frank Warren is based, or the United States.

“Zolani Tete should be ready because the son of a bitch ain’t fought in a year. I don’t know what he’s doing but he should be ready,” Gibbons said.

Earlier on the card, 2016 Olympian Charly Suarez (3-0, 3 KOs) made quick work of Virgil Puton (17-13-2, 8 KOs), dropping him once before the fight was stopped at the 1:41 mark of round one. Suarez, 31, of San Isidro, Davao del Norte, Philippines competes in the junior lightweight division.

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected]