Showing no ill effects of a supposed tortuous weight loss on the eve of the fight, World Boxing Organization interim world bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero kept his belt with a smashing 10th round knockout win over Cesar Ramirez of Mexico Saturday.
The bout at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila started out slow as an overeager Casimero missed a couple of wild shots on a backpedalling Ramirez.
But Casimero, 30, floored Ramirez in the third with a well-timed right, which happened during a furious exchange, but the Mexican seemed unruffled at that point.
Another knockdown was scored by Casimero in the fifth, which the Mexican protested saying he lost his balance.
Ramirez, 31, had his best moment in the 6th when he bamboozled Casimero with a few but strong overhand rights.
"Sinabihan ko tama na muna sa mukha. Targetin na sa katawan kasi nakita ko bumibigay 'yung Ramirez 'pag tinatamaan sa katawan," said Casimero's trainer, Nonoy Neri.
A strong right rocked Ramirez in the 7th, with the Filipino unleashing another right to floor his opponent for the third time.
By the 9th, Casimero attacked Ramirez's body that saw the visiting fighter writhe in pain at every body shot .
"Pinilit n'ya nu'ng una sa mukha kasi sabi niya open palagi. Sabi ko sa 9th makinig naman siya sa akin, katawanin na niya. Buti naman nakinig," Neri said.
A left uppercut unleashed by Casimero caught Ramirez's jaw, sending Ramirez flat on his back that forced the referee to wave off the bout and give the KO victory to the Filipino titleholder at the 2:23 mark of the 10th canto.
" 'Yung (right) upper na tumama malakas din kaya sinunod ko agad 'yung left hook kaya alam ko hindi na tatayo," said Casimero, who now has a 28-4 win-loss card, 19 ending by knockout.
Ramirez now has an 18-4 tally, 11 by stoppage.
During the official weigh-in Friday, Casimero was almost a pound over the 118-lb limit, which the Ormoc City-native boxer had to shed off for almost 2 hours.
"Wala namang epekto sa laban. Kung meron, konti lang pero hindi naman ako nagkulang sa ensayo kaya nakuha ko yung panalo," Casimero said.
Casimero claimed the interim crown when he stopped another Mexican Ricardo Espinosa Franco by a 12th-round TKO last April in Carson, Calif.
The latest win makes Casimero the rightful challenger to WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete of South Africa, who was given by the Puerto Rico-based organization a break due to an injury.
The bout was witnessed by fighting senator and current WBA world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, whose promotional outfit MP Promotions bankrolled the international card.
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