THE Philippines’ John Riel Casimero made the country proud again when he defeated Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba and retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight title at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on Sunday.
Casimero, nicknamed “Quadro Alas”, was clearly the more aggressive fighter and although he failed to knock out the two-time Olympic medalist during their 12-round title fight, it was enough to earn the nod of two of the three judges for a split decision victory.
The 32-year-old Filipino champion from Ormoc won the fight 117-11 from judge Robert Hoyle and 116-112 from judge Daniel Sandoval.
The third judge, Tim Cheatham, saw it 115-113 in favor of Rigondeaux.
With the win, Casimero improved his record to 31-4, including 21 knockouts,
The Filipno champion, however, was visibly disappointed with the outcome of the fight against the 40-year-old Cuban fighter where he did most of the chasing and Rigondeaux most of the running.
“I’m excited because Rigondeaux is a good boxer. He’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist, so I’m worried. He even said ‘no run,’ “said Casimero in a post-match interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray.
“I wanted a knockout and all my fans wanted a knockout, but Rigondeaux is always running. He’s always running. No fighting.”
A report from CompuBox supported Casimero’s claim.
According to CompuBox, the two boxers landed only a combined 91 punches, the lowest total for a 12-round fight in CompuBox’s 36-year history.
The previous record was held by the Mario Barrios-Devis Boschiero lightweight bout held in 2016 in New Jersey were the two fighters landed a combined 100 punches.
Casimero was awarded the decision due to his aggressiveness, Compubox added.
Casimero is trying to get a more lucrative fight with either compatriot Nonito Donaire or undefeated Japanese Naoya Inoue.
Donaire is the reigning WBC title holder, while Inoue holds the IBF and WBA bantamweight belts.
Donaire was actually scheduled to fight Casimero but pulled out after a dispute over VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association), among others.
Later, Casimero showed three fingers representing his plan for his career in front of a live television audience.
“This is my plan. Three people. First, Rigondeaux finished. Second, Donaire. And next, Inoue,” said Casimero.
Casimero then folded his ring finger and said Rigondeaux” finished.
Next, he folded another to leave his middle finger up as he mentioned Donaire and Inoue.