John Riel Casimero wants to return home to the Philippines.
The WBO bantamweight champion is fearful, however, of taking a transpacific trip to his native country because he doesn’t want to catch coronavirus on what would be a long flight. Casimero has been in Las Vegas for a few weeks because he had been training in the United States for his bantamweight championship unification fight against Naoya Inoue.
The Inoue-Casimero card, which ESPN was supposed to televise April 25 from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, was postponed indefinitely March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m not coming out [of the house] anymore,” Casimero told the Manila Bulletin. “Other people are buying groceries. There’s no problem at my house because it is in the mountains and it is quiet … not too many people.”
The 31-year-old Casimero, who resides in Ormoc, still wants to be with his family during this trying time. He informed the Philippines’ largest newspaper that in addition to safety concerns, travel restrictions and financial considerations have made flying from Las Vegas to Manila difficult.
“It’s just dangerous here in the U.S.,” Casimero said. “Many people have the virus and I might even be able to [interact with] a passenger with the virus on the plane. I really want to go home now because I haven’t been able to tell exactly when the fight is going to happen.”
Casimero trained for several weeks in Miami before flying to Las Vegas in mid-March.
Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) won the WBO bantamweight title by upsetting Zolani Tete (28-4, 21 KOs) in his last fight, November 30 in Birmingham, England.
The former IBF flyweight and IBF/WBO light flyweight champion dropped South Africa’s Tete twice in the third round. Referee Steve Gray stopped their scheduled 12-round bout at 2:14 of the third round.
Whenever their 118-pound championship unification match is rescheduled, Casimero will encounter one of the sport’s top boxers in Japan’s Inoue. The 26-year-old Inoue, who owns the IBF and WBA bantamweight titles, is a three-weight world champion who has won 84 percent of his professional fights by knockout (19-0, 16 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.