John Riel Casimero has let his fists do a lot of talking. He’s letting his mouth take its turn.
“From now on, I don’t want a small money fight,” Casimero, basking in the afterglow of his latest conquest, told reporters during an online edition of the Philippine Sportswriters Association on Tuesday.
Casimero stopped a previously unbeaten Duke Micah of Ghana in three rounds last Sunday in Connecticut and feels he’s ready for boxing’s brightest lights—and moneyed fights.
“I can’t think of anything to improve my game, only my English needs improvement,” Casimero said in Filipino.
His goal right now is to unify the bantamweight belts. He currently rules the 118-pound division of the World Boxing Organization and he is currently setting his sights on Japanese Naoya Inoue’s World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation crowns.
But Casimero feels Inoue is “running away” from him after the Japanese star “chickened out” of their initial fight date. And so he is open to battling Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba at 118 pounds or Luis Neri of Mexico, the World Boxing Council king at 122 pounds title.
Heck, if all else fails, he’s willing to bulk up to 140 lbs and fight mixed martial arts mega star Conor McGregor.
McGregor is currently being linked to a fight with eight-division champion and current Philippine Sen. Manny Pacquiao, but negotiations for that bout could hit contractual walls.
“McGregor is not a boxer, he is a mixed martial arts fighter, let me face him. McGregor is only good for four rounds.” Casimero said. “Please tell the senator (Pacquiao) I will fight McGregor instead.”
Brash, fun and exciting inside the ring, Casimero made it clear against Micah that he is ready to end his undercard career and fight as the main draw.
He said he hardly had any trouble disposing of the Ghanaian, after spending more than eight months in the United States, where he was stranded after the COVID-19 pandemic struck down his bout with Inoue. When Inoue fled to Japan instead of waiting out a new fight date, Casimero was forced to look for another opponent.
He wasn’t quite impressed with the one he faced.
“I waited and trained for seven months only to get this bout; it was too easy, [Micah] only planned to sleep,” Casimero said.
He hopes his explosive performance caught the attention of Inoue. And of his “bashers.”
“I don’t understand, even Filipinos bash me and root for Inoue,” he said. “That’s why I really went all out so they will see [what I’m capable of]. Now, I think [Inoue is] even more scared.”Casimero is on a roll, winning six straight fights—all via stoppages—which, according to MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons, is making heads turn in the United States.
“It’s not going to be difficult to get him big fights from now on,” said Gibbons who reported that Showtime is already asking when Casimero is fighting again.
Gibbons, meanwhile, took the opportunity to dismiss reports of a Pacquiao-McGregor bout.
“I don’t know anything about it. The senator is the biggest name in boxing and many people wanted their names attached to his (Pacquiao),” Gibbons said. “But if a fight like that happens, it’s a tremendous event.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.