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Casimero favored to knock out Cuban foe

WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero will face WBA titleholder Guillermo (The Jackal) Rigondeaux of Cuba in a 12-round unification bout on Aug. 14 probably in California, according to MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons.

Casimero, 31, successfully defended his title last September by knocking out in the third round the undefeated Duke Micah of Ghana.

Meanwhile, Rigondeaux, 40, last fought in February 2020 by scoring a split decision over Venezuela’s Liborio Solis for the vacant WBA crown.

Casimero has been more active with eight fights in the last five years compared to five for Rigondeaux.

The Filipino has won nine of his last 10 fights and Rigondeaux, his last three.

A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Rigondeaux enjoys a 3-1/2-inch advantage in reach over Casimero. He’s hard to hit, elusive and a stylist who likes to run rings around his opponent.

Casimero, in contrast, is a brawler who could be the hardest hitter in the 118-pound division. He previously held the IBF lightflyweight and flyweight titles while Rigondeaux, the WBA/WBO superbantamweight diadem.

Whoever wins will go against super WBA/IBF bantamweight beltholder Naoya Inoue who is slated to fight Filipino Michael Dasmarinas in Las Vegas on June 19.

Casimero looks at a duel with Inoue as his ultimate goal.

Casimero started light workouts in his Ormoc hometown, moving his training to Manila to begin sparring. He plans to land in the US on June 1.

 Casimero said one punch will do the trick to put Rigondeaux to sleep. “Sabi ni (Casimero), basta tamaan niya kahit isa, gugulong si Rigo,” said Mark Lontayao.

“Sa ngayon, light training, takbo sa bundok sa umaga tapos mitt session sa gym supervised ng kaniyang kapatid Jayson. Paghahandaan niya si Rigo. Nasa 140-145 pounds si Tata. Aware siya na si Rigo not the same sa last two fights. He can’t run the way he used to and has tendencies to go toe-to-toe. Nakita niya nasaktan si Rigo ni Solis. Pag siya ang nakatama kay Rigo, matutulog siya.”

Rigondeaux defected to the US from Cuba in 2009. In 2013, Donaire floored Rigondeaux in the 10th round but lost by unanimous decision.

The Cuban’s other Filipino victim was Drian Francisco who was outpointed in 2015. Rigondeaux’ record is 20-1, with 13 KOs and three of his seven victims on points were decked.

He was knocked down by Hisashi Amagasa twice, Donaire once and Ricardo Cordoba once and was stopped by Vasyl Lomachenko. But Rigondeaux once broke James Dickens’ jaw.

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