By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
WORLD BOXING ORGANIZATION (WBO) bantamweight champion John Riel “Quadro Alas” Casimero of the Philippines retained his title, and he did it in impressive fashion by dominating Ghanaian challenger Duke Micah with a third-round technical knockout victory on Sunday (Manila time) in Connecticut.
Defending the title he won last year for the first time, Ormoc, Leyte native Casimero was on top of his game right from the get-go, not allowing his opponent to get much headway.
Thirty-year-old Casimero set the pace with some solid body shots that rocked his opponent.
In the second round, the Filipino champion picked up the pace further, sending Mr. Micah to the canvas with a left hook. The Ghanaian, however, would survive the round.
Sensing that his opponent was in trouble, Mr. Casimero moved to pressure Mr. Micah some more to start round three.
He unleashed solid hits to the body and head then connected with a combination of left and right upper cuts that had Mr. Micah reeling and something he could not recover from, forcing the referee to stop the fight just 54 seconds into the round.
The win improved Mr. Casimero’s record to 30 wins as opposed to four losses.
Mr. Micah, meanwhile, absorbed his first defeat in 25 fights.
Meanwhile, for local fight analyst Nissi Icasiano, to see Mr. Casimero win and in such a manner was not at all surprising.
“John Riel Casimero proved that Duke Micah didn’t belong in the same league where he is by pulling off a third-round demolition. I wasn’t surprised at all. The difference in terms of experience and skill level was evident. It was day and night,” said the analyst when sought for comment by BusinessWorld post-fight.
“Though Micah was aggressive and game early throughout an even opening round by throwing his jabs and a solid overhand right that cleary backed off the Pinoy champion, Casimero just rolled with the punches from his inexperienced foe. Those shots from Micah were heavy, but it didn’t put Casimero off his game as he stepped on the gas pedal and turned up the volume of his shots,” he added.
The impressive win boded well for the Filipino, Mr. Icasiano said, as it showcased Mr. Casimero’s top-class talent to a wider audience just as it set the latter to bigger fights moving forward, including the long-awaited showdown with undefeated Japanese champion Naoya Inoue.
“It’s a big boost on the part of Casimero as he made his US television debut and kicked off a pay-per-view doubleheader from the Mohegan Sun Arena with a spectacular defense of his WBO title. I can’t think of a better way to put the American audience on notice other than that,” the analyst said.
“I really wish to see him fight Inoue early next year. That will be a great curtain-raiser for the 2021 boxing calendar. Luis Nery is also a good option if he decides to go back to 118 pounds. If he does not get Inoue by early next year, the winner of the WBC title fight between Nordine Oubaali and Nonito Donaire in December is another option for him,” he added.