John Riel Casimero still remains a bantamweight titlist, although now officially on the clock.
The three-division titlist was issued a Show Cause notice by the WBO, who has given Casimero (31-4, 21KOs) ten days to show medical proof of his inability to honor his mandatory title defense versus Paul Butler. The bout was due to take place this Saturday at Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, only for Philippines’ Casimero to withdraw prior to the weigh-in as he cited a bout with gastritis.
At this point, his word alone is not good enough.
“On Thursday, December 9, 2021, the WBO confirmed receipt of email correspondence on behalf of Probellum’s Chief Legal Officer, Mr. Harrison Whitman indicating that approximately at 2:00 a.m. local time in Dubai, UAE, you were admitted to the American Hospital Dubai in Dubai, UAE,” Luis Batista-Salas, chairman of the WBO Championship Committee noted to Casimero via official letter, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. “Upon admission a team member of your camp named Mr. Stephen Lunas Jr., confirmed to Mr. Whitman via text messages through the “WhatsApp” chat application, that you were unable to participate in the schedule WBO Bantamweight Championship bout against Paul Butler on Saturday, December 11, 2021, at the Coca Cola Arena in Dubai, AUE.
“In light of your alleged medical condition and unavailability to participate in the WBO Championship bout against Butler, Probellum informed the WBO that current number 10 rated WBO Bantamweight Contender, Joseph Agbeko is ready, willing and able to participate against Butler. Therefore, Mr. Whitman seeks authorization to grant sanction approval for the WBO Bantamweight Championship Title between Butler & Agbeko.”
Agbeko was on site and able to make weight for the last-minute fight with Butler, which will now come with the WBO interim bantamweight title at stake. The winner could receive an upgrade to full champion in the event Casimero is unable to provide sufficient medical proof of his reported ailment.
“Having considered the aforementioned circumstances, and the conditions stated in the Casimero/Butler purse bid proceeding minutes dated Thursday, October 7, 2021, this Committee will authorize sanction for an Interim WBO Bantamweight Championship Contest of Butler/Agbeko. Nevertheless, you (Casimero) are hereby ordered to show cause within the next 10 days upon issuance of this letter to submit a medical certification by institution which you were admitted for medical treatment as well as your medical record pertaining to such admittance at the American Hospital Dubai in Dubai, UAE.
“Wherefore, you are hereby forewarned that failure to comply with the conditions set forth herein will result in the Committee declaring the WBO Bantamweight Championship “Vacant”, “Ipso Facto” without further notice, citation, or hearing and with the Committee elevating the winner of the Interim of the WBO World Championship bout between Butler & Agbeko to full status as the WBO Bantamweight Champion accordingly.”
Casimero was due to make the third defense of the bantamweight title he has held since November 2019. In his most recent bout, he scored a twelve-round decision win over Guillermo Rigondeaux on August 14 in Carson, California.
Hopes of next entering a title unification bout with Nonito Donaire took too long to hit the negotiating stage, as he was ordered to next face Butler. The matter went to a purse bid hearing, which Probellum won with a submitted amount of $105,000 as the lone bidder.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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