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Casimero crushes Micah in three, retains WBO belt

Nick Giongco



(Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime)

Call him the Blond Bomber.

Filipino puncher John Riel Casimero proved too much for outgunned Ghanaian challenger Duke Micah as the WBO bantamweight titlist scored a devastating third-round KO Sunday (Manila time) at the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Making the first defense of the title, Casimero forced referee Steve Willis to stop the one-sided bout just a minute into the third canto after a wicked left uppercut turned Micah’s legs into rubber.

Casimero had floored the previously unbeaten Micah in the second round with a left hook to the side of the war.

So hurt was Micah that he walked towards his corner at the end of the round on spaghetti legs.

Just seconds into the third stanza, the ring doctor got up and motioned to the third man to let him examine Micah.

The physician advised Willis that Micah could continue but made it clear that at the first sign of trouble, Willis has to pull the plug immediately.

That’s exactly what Wilis did when that Casimero uppercut momentarily contorted Micah’s face and had him in trouble anew.

The victory raised Casimero’s record to 30-4 with 21 KOs while the loss was the first for the African, who dropped to 24-1 with 19 KOs.

Casimero, who bleached his hair blond for the fight, did a pushup using just his right hand soon after it was over as his cornermen, starring chief trainer and former world champ Bones Adams, went up the ring to celebrate.

American boxing man Sean Gibbons, who heads the Manny Pacquiao-owned MP Promotions, gave Casimero a hug.

Casimero was the massive favorite in the scheduled 12-rounder and was supposed to battle Naoya Inoue of Japan in April in Las Vegas when the world plunged into a lockdown owing to the coronavirus.

Gibbons, who represents Casimero, says the heavy-handed Ormoc, Leyte native will be back in the ring sometime in January.

The win also meant that the number of Filipino world champions remains at four. The others are Pacquiao, Jerwin Ancajas and Pedro Taduran, all fighting under MP Promotions.

It was a historic night for Casimero, who became the first Filipino fighter to see action with a world title on the line during the COVID-19 era.