Casimero: ‘Next is Nonito Donaire and then finally Naoya Inoue’

It was not the most exciting nights of boxing, but in the end, WBO Bantamweight World Champion John Riel Casimero(31-4, 21 KOs) defeated two-division champion Guillermo Rigondeaux(20-2, 13 KOs) by split decision to retain his title Saturday night from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California(Showtime).

One judge scored the fight 115-113 for Rigondeaux, which was overruled by two scores of 117-111 and 116-112.

The first round of this fight was fun, and it appeared that a Casimero left hook to the back of Rigondeaux’s head would lead to a knockdown, but referee Jerry Cantu ruled it a slip. While Rigondeaux was on a knee, Casimero threw several punches, and ultimately, he received a warning from the referee.

After the first round, Rigondeaux took “the air out of the ball” and pretty much was on the defensive. While he would connect with Casimero at times with some hard shots, Rigondeaux was defense first. Casimero was forced to chase him, and at times he had some success. 

Casimero got one of the best wins of his career, but he wanted a knockout.

“My expectations were for a knockout,” Casimero said. “Me and all my fans wanted that. I did my best to knock him out, but he was just running and not fighting.”

Casimero ended the fight with a narrow 47 to 44 edge in punches landed, including a 41-28 tally in power punches.

Although the fans disliked his style on Saturday night, Rigondeaux thought he did enough to win the fight.

“Nobody wants to fight with me because I frustrate them in the ring,” said Rigondeaux. “I landed the punches that I needed to in order to win the fight tonight. This is how I win. I have these God-given skills, and this is the way I display them. I’m a unique fighter. It’s my style, and it’s the only one I know. You can see I’m still better than anyone else in the lighter weight classes, and I’m going to keep fighting.”

After making the second defense of his title, Casimero made it known who he wants next.

“I had a three-fight plan,” said Casimero. “First was Rigondeaux, and I beat him. Next is Nonito Donaire and then finally Naoya Inoue.

Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Premier Boxing Champions

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