By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Well known Filipino promoter Sammy Gello-ani hopes that IBF light flyweight champion Johnreil Casimero will be able to make a mandatory defense of his title against Panama’s Alberto Rios in Manila.
Gello-ani told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard about his wish after his international partner Sampson Lewkowicz won the purse bid conducted by the IBF with an offer of $132,000. The astute promoter/matchmaker who handles middleweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez outbid promoter Rogelio Espino of Promociones y Events del Istmo of Panama.
Casimero won the title by a 10th round TKO over veteran Luis Lazarte of Argentina at 1:09 of the round with referee Eddie Claudio calling a halt after Lzarte was dropped twice in the 9th round and once in the 10th on February 10, 2012 in a title fight that was marred by a full blown riot by fans of Lazarte reportedly from a truckers union.
Gello-ani was one of those hurt in the riot while Casimero had to hide under the ring and was unable to receive his championship belt after he too was attacked.
In his first title defense the 22 year old Casimero scored a twelve round split decision over previously undefeated Pedro Guevara in Sinaloa, Mexico with judge Ruben Garcia who appears to often favor Hispanic fighters against Filipinos scoring the fight for Guevara 114-113 in contrast to judge Matthew Podgorski who had Casimero the winner by a wide margin of 116-111.
Garcia is the same judge who had Wilfredo Vazquez Jr a115-113 winner over Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire in his WBO super bantamweight title fight although the two other judges had Donaire who dropped Vazquez in round 9, a comfortable winner.
Casimero's title victory over Lazarte and his successful first defense against Guevara were both telecast on a delayed basis by AKTV IBC 13, the sports network of ABC 5.
Casimero has a record of 17-2 with 10 knockouts while his mandatory challenger, 22 year old Alberto Rios has a record of 18-1-1 with 13 knockouts and earned the title shot by winning a title eliminator by an 11th round TKO over Mexico’s Felipe Salguero on October 25, 2012 after Rios was dropped in round 5.
Salguero had earlier lost a unanimous twelve round decision in a WBO title fight against Donnie Nietes of the famed ALA Gym last June 2, 2012 in Manila.
Gello-ani told us the only way Casimero's title defense can be staged in Manila is if a big network or major sponsors step up and support the effort.