By Ronnie Nathanielsz
IBF light flyweight champion Johnreil Casimero faces a tough challenge against No. 1 contender Luis Alberto Rios at the Megapolis Convention Center in Panama on Saturday, but is determined to retain his title.
Well known promoter Sammy Gello-ani told the BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard in an overseas telephone conversation from Panama that Casimero has been training hard and is “well prepared” to face the tough and talented Rios who has a record of 18-1-1 with 13 knockouts and will enjoy the hometown advantage.
But that doesn’t bother Casimero who is accustomed to fighting abroad and according to Gell-ani, “he doesn’t care. For him, Panama is like his home country.”
However, Gello-ani believes Casimero who was just one pound over the light flyweight limit on the eve of the weigh-in, has what it takes to make his second successful defense of the title he won with an impressive 10th round TKO over Argentina’s Luis Lazarte on February 10, 2012 in a fight marred by a riot when Lazarte’s supporters attacked Casimero and his team after the decision was announced.
The promoter said Casimero had “enjoyed a good sleep, he’s in shape, very excited, in great condition and ready.”
Gello-ani also reported that John Mark “Iceman” Apolinario (17-2-2, 4 KO’s) is “very confident he can get the WBA interim bantamweight title in a rematch nwith Roberto Vazquez after earning a controversial majority draw in their November 3, 2012 clash in Argentina.
He said the southpaw Vasquez (32-5-1, 22 KO’s) appears to have problems making the weight while Apolinario has no problem at all and this should be an advantage for the Filipino boxer.