A frustrating night in Thailand for Casimero in IBF title bid

John Riel Casimero (right) mixes it up with Amnat Ruenroeng on June 27 in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo courtesy of www.philstar.com

John Riel Casimero (right) mixes it up with IBF flyweight titlist Amnat Ruenroeng on June 27 in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo courtesy of www.philstar.com


Former IBF light flyweight world champion John Riel Casimero, 21-3 (13) recently squared off against IBF flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng, 16-0 (5), on June 27 in Bangkok, Thailand.


It was Ruenroeng’s fifth world title fight and fourth defense of the strap he won in Jan. of 2014 when he bested Rocky Fuentes over 12 rounds to capture the vacant belt. It was the champion’s first fight after turning back the challenge of Chinese boxing icon Zou Shiming last March.


Casimero was coming into the fight off seven straight wins; undefeated since early 2011 and was looking to add a third major title to his collection, having also won the WBO interim light flyweight title back in Dec. of 2009. He knew beating the undefeated champion would be no easy task but he didn’t bargain for what took place in one of the most foul-filled, frustrating bouts seen in a while.


Casimero turned pro in the summer of 2007 and went a perfect 14-0 before dropping back-to-back losses in 2010 and 2011, the latter in his first bid for the IBF flyweight title. He rebounded with a win almost seven months later and then, in his next bout, captured the IBF light flyweight title in Feb. of 2012. After four successful title defenses, he was set to challenge unbeaten Ruenroeng in June in his second bid for the IBF flyweight title.


Ruenroeng turned pro in 2012 is undefeated in his professional campaign so far. In only his ninth fight, he captured the vacant IBF Pan Pacific flyweight title. Three fights later, he captured the IBF flyweight title.


We recently caught up with Casimero adviser Sean Gibbons, who was frustrated, to put it mildly, about the outcome of the bout and the way it played out on fight night. Gibbons was unable to attend the fight in Thailand due to a scheduling conflict as he was in Texas with his undefeated super middleweight contender Gilberto Ramirez. Upon returning home to Las Vegas, Nev., Gibbons was able to view the fight and see the countless fouls that were reported for himself.


Ultimately, Gibbons feels his fighter was taking on two opponents that night: Ruenroeng and referee Larry Doggett. The frustrated adviser and all of Team Casimero are seeking an immediate rematch.


“This was an outright mugging. We worked hard to get [Casimero] in place for this fight and he was working so hard to get ready. Manager Sampson Lewkowicz brought him to the U.S. to train and then we get in the ring and get mauled, tackled, shoved and manhandled with fouls,” said a clearly unhappy Gibbons. In a letter to IBF President Daryl Peoples, Gibbons broke down the fight, which, in his conservative estimation, featured “three and four serious and blatant fouls in every round.” Gibbons pointed out that the endless roughhouse tactics, many that were certainly points-deduction worthy, “started right in the first round and never let up all fight.” Gibbons also called the situation in his letter as an “embarrassment to call this boxing” and went on to describe the fight as a “mix of MMA, WWE, street fighting and judo.”


Gibbons, clearly frustrated by the mishandling of the bout by referee Doggett continued, “The “IBF really should order an immediate rematch. They should order a rematch based on the incompetence of the referee alone. This referee was so out of touch with what was going on during the fight.”


More than anything, Gibbons seemed genuinely frustrated and upset for his fighter and the team that had worked so hard.


“It’s not easy to get to fight for a world title. I mean, a lot of time and money was spent getting [Casimero] ready and then to have to deal with this. I really hope all this hard work is not in vain and [the IBF] does the right thing and orders an immediate rematch.”



Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at bill.tibbs@ucnlive.com and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.




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