John Riel Casimero captured the third world title of his career as he stopped the favored Zolani Tete in three rounds in Birmingham, England, to win the WBO bantamweight championship.
After a relatively slow and tactical beginning to this fight, which was controlled by the long and angular southpaw from South Africa, Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) turned things around dramatically with a short right hand that caught Tete (28-4, 21 KOs) on the temple. It not only sent him to the canvas, but left him dazed and disorientated.
As he continued to fight on after taking the mandatory eight count from referee, Steve Gray, Tete was still unsteady on his feet and he never quite regained his equilibrium. He was sent down again, more so from remaining disorientated than from any clean punches from Casimero.
After Tete rose for the second time, he was still wobbly, and when Casimero closed in on him in the corner and began to land heavy punches, the fight was called off at 2:14 of the third.
"All my opponents are good fighters, but me, I'm strong, man!" said a jubilant Casimero.
With the victory, there is now a clamoring for the Filipino to face Naoya Inoue, who currently holds the WBA and IBF versions of the bantamweight titles. Inoue defeated Nonito Donaire in a memorable 12-round affair on Nov. 7 to win the World Boxing Super Series 118-pound tournament. The Japanese star is considered one of the very best fighters in the world. But Casimero is undaunted.
"Give me Inoue!'' Casimero pleaded. "C'mon Inoue, Monster, come with me!"
While many will consider Casimero to be the prohibitive underdog versus Inoue, Sean Gibbons, a representative of Manny Pacquiao Promotions, which handles Casimero, stated: "The style's made for this guy. This guy can punch, you saw what he did, Zolani Tete is a harder fight, a harder guy to hit.
"Inoue's made for this guy. I know it, I've seen it."