John Riel Casimero becomes the new WBO bantamweight champion!
Most who know all seventeen divisions in boxing knew a fight against two division champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20KO) for Zolani Tete (28-4, 21KO) coming off a thirteen month layoff due to injury would be a tough hill to climb.
It would end up being one he could not reach the top of.
Tete had to withdraw from the WBSS semi-finals bout with eventual finals loser Nonito Donaire earlier this year due to an injured shoulder. He had been eager to return and show the fans he is still a problem at batamweight. In the process, the WBO had ordered he face interim champion Casimero and he had no problem accepting the challenge.
After two rounds where both could have easily went to either man, it was evident the ring rust would be a problem for the WBO champion. The angles and combinations of Casimero were making the champion feel uneasy in the ring. Tete had moments where he could develop a rhythm but was unable to sustain it.
As the two jockeyed for position to take control of the fight with 1:53 left in the third round, Casimero started to paw with the jab. In anticipation the Filipino would come over the top, Tete dipped and fell right into a well timed straight right hand. The two division champ from South Africa would get back to his feet but was visibly hurt and stumbling in a struggle to show he was ready.
As referee Steve Gray waived the fight to continue, Casimero jumped on his prey! He would throw many punches as Tete hovered against the ropes but none landed too flush. However, it was enough pure volume to make the champion land face-first back on the canvas. As his left arm hung outside the ropes, Tete would turn over and again make it to his feet. It was clear he still hadn’t recovered from the initial straight right hand that produced the first knockdown.
Gray would give the champion a second chance to continue but it was only a matter of time. Casimero would soon finish him in the corner adjacent to where the second knockdown occurred to become the new WBO bantamweight champion in a shocker!
NOTE: The following clip is admissible for use under the Fair Use Policy for the purposes of reporting!
This was a fight many throughout the boxing community slept on. However, if you know boxing, then you knew this fight would be a good one. Out of four losses, three have come from the top brass in the respective divisions Casimero has campaigned at in his career. One of which is the same man Tete suffered his first knockout loss to; current IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane.
In essence, this is another reason why we at 3kingsboxing.com say “pay attention to the little guys!” There are some good fights you are missing!
By: EJ Williams