Johnriel Casimero joined some special company with his latest win, though by no means is ready to rest on his laurels.
The 30-year old Philippines native added a bantamweight title to a collection that includes hardware at junior flyweight and flyweight after knocking out Zolani Tete in the 3rd round of their ESPN+ headliner Saturday evening in Birmingham, England. The win placed Casimero alongside Manny Pacquiao, onito Donaire and Donnie Nietes as the only ever boxers from their fighting proud nation to claim titles in three weight divisions.
Donaire and Nietes have done so in four, while Pacquiao—also a full-time Senator in his native Philippines and whose MP Promotions represents Casimero—has captured belts in an all-time best eight weight divisions.
Still, it was Casimero’s potential to become a triple division threat that prompted the company’s brass to secure his services in looking to further its brand.
“When we first put together MP Promotions, the Senator asked me who we needed to sign,” Sean Gibbons, president of MP Promotions explained to BoxingScene.com. “Johnriel Casimero was the first fighter I told him who absolutely needed to represent the company.”
Casimero’s willingness to fight anyone and anywhere—including Tete in England, where the long-reigning bantamweight titlist has been primarily based since 2016—was appealing to Pacquiao and his team, even more so following Saturday’s win. It means even more to the newly crowned bantamweight titlist to fly the banner with pride.
“It’s a thrill that The Senator picked me as one of the top fighters in the Philippines to sign with his company,” notes Casimero. I’m very happy that The Senator has faith in my abilities and that he has picked me to win and represent MP moving forward.”
The way Casimero sees it, there’s no better way to pay homage to the Filipino icon and all-time boxing great than to add a “Monster” entry to his already incredible resume. On his radar for 2020 is a massive showdown with Japan’s unbeaten pound-for-pound entrant and unified titlist Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16KOs)
“I will be honored to represent MP Promotions when we get to face “The Monster” Naoya Inoue,” said Casimero. “My man Inoue. Monster, come to me and fight!”
It’s a fight that his handlers plan to work on immediately, although the stronger reality is that Casimero will be required to go to Inoue in order to make the fight happen
“The champ has won in seven different countries; the only one where he hasn’t won is Japan,” Sean Gibbons, president of MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions noted after Casimero’s latest road win. “That’s the fight The Senator wants, that’s the fight that we want.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox