CARSON, CALIF. — It was John Riel Casimero’s first fight on U.S. soil, and it was also his first bout, at 118 pounds.
But that did not stop him from taking home his third world title.
The 30-year-old Casimero captured the WBO Interim Bantamweight belt, knocking out Mexican Ricardo Espinoza Franco on Sunday.
“Masaya Salamat ako sa panginoon na bigay sa akin para magiging 3 times world champion.”
Casimero managed to land solid punches and slow down his bigger opponent throughout the match.
Casimero, who is a former IBF Flyweight World Champion, outworked Espinoza in the first five rounds of the contest, leading to a big knockdown in the sixth round.
Casimero then scored another knockdown to begin the 12th, shortly before the red called the fight 44-seconds into the final round.
“Hindi talaga sa laki yan o sa habas yung kag isa Kang boxer may lakas ka talaga kaya mo sa sarili ko kaya mo sya bumagsakin…kayo mo sya…in ano man sa sarili ko kaya mo.”
With the win, Casimero becomes a three-division boxing world champion and joins the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire Jr., Jerwin Ancajas, and Vic Saludar as current reigning Filipino world champions.
Casimero wasn’t only fighting his Mexican opponent in the ring, he was dealing with other battles some of them beyond his control.
Quadro Alas did not have enough time to acclimatize, since he only arrived in the States only about a week before the fight.
On top of that, his longtime trainer Jhun Agrabio was denied a US visa. That’s when former champ turned trainer Rodel Mayol stepped in.
“Coach ko hindi naka punta yung brother tindi naman ako mag bayaan sa sarili ko at Tsaka concentrate pa ako kaya amarami mag subok dumaan sa Akin yun… na pag subok lahat.”