by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Newly crowned IBF light flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero (16-2, 10 KO’s) is in “great shape” according to his promoter Sammy Gello-ani and is ready to make a successful first defense of his title against undefeated Mexican Pedro Guevara (18-0-1, 13 KO’s) in Sinaloa, Mexico on August 4.
Gello-ani disclosed that since Casimero’s title defense had been postponed more than once the fighter continued to train and in fact had to ease off for sometime because of the delay in finalizing a fight.
Gello-ani told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard - “I am happy that at last the title defense has been realized” even as he noted that Casimero is excited about the fight which, according to Gello-ani will be telecast by ABC 5 either on AKTV IBC 13 or on ABC Channel 5.
The telecast of the fight to a large Filipino audience is expected to serve as an inspiration for Casimero who won the interim title by a 10th round TKO over Argentina’s Luis Lazarte in a bout that was marred by an ugly post-fight riot.
Casimero will fly to Mexico via Los Angeles and is scheduled to leave Manila on July 30.
Although Guevara has an impressive record on paper, Gello-ani said Casimero isn’t concerned - saying he will prove his worth in the ring.
Gello-ani also noted that the Mexican had “fought fighters with no names so far and I am confident Casimero can hold on to the title because of his experience outside.”
Trainer Christopher Tepora who was with Casimero in Argentina and was among those ganged up on by supporters of Lazarte after the fight said “if he won in Argentina why can’t we do it in Mexico?”
Gello-ani said Casimero had to defend his title in Mexico because they couldn’t afford to stage the fight in Manila. He said Casimero “has to fight. He’s been stagnant f or so many months” with his last fight against Lazarte taking place on February 10, 2012.
Guevara, the reigning North American Boxing Federation champion won the title with a 7th round TKO over Jorle Estrada on October 22, 2011. He had earlier won the WBC Silver title with a 3rd round knockout of Karluis Diaz on December 18, 2010.
The fight will be held in Guevara’s hometown of Mazatlan, Sinaloa and the IBF No. 5 ranked challenger is given a good chance by Mexican supporters to get the better of Casimero.
Casimero who won the interim-title was elevated to full champion by IBF Championship Committee chairman Lindsey Tucker after champion Ulises Solis indicated he would be unable to defend his title because of surgery on a broken jaw before the extended deadline of October 30 for his mandatory defense.