John Riel Casimero after demolishing Duke Micah in their bantamweight title fight in Connecticut, USA. Photo from Showtime Boxing Twitter

MANILA, Philippines — John Riel Casimero had a rousing first title defense against Duke Micah to retain his WBO world bantamweight title Sunday but the victory never truly satisfied the Filipinos slugger’s hunger.

The fight against Micah wasn’t initially part of Casimero’s plans as he was originally slated to fight Naoya Inoue in a unification bout last April before the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

Casimero, who’s been in the United States since March, waited for Inoue to arrive in the US but the undefeated Japanese never came reportedly due to travel restrictions as their showdown ended up getting scrapped.

The Leyte native, though, is not letting Inoue, who’s known as “The Monster,” off the hook that easily.

“I’m the real monster. Naoya Inoue is scared of me. You’re next,” said Casimero in a report from RingTV.com. “I would have knocked out anyone today.”

Casimero had a dominant defense, stopping Micah in the third round with a furious flurry that prompted referee Steve Willis to stop the fight at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, USA.

Chopping down Micah in the first two rounds, Casimero landed 24 body shots to Micah’s four and he was successful in scoring a knockdown in the second round with a cracking left hook.

With his confidence running high, Casimero said that Inoue’s just an option for him now and he could take on WBA “regular” bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux or move up in weight and take on Luis Nery, who fought in the same card for the WBC world super bantamweight title.

“If Inoue doesn’t fight me, then I’ll fight Guillermo Rigondeaux, Luis Nery, or any of the top fighters,” said Casimero.


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