John Riel Casimero Withdraws From Paul Butler Bout; Agbeko Fills In!

The Fate Of John Riel Casimero Is Up In The Air!

John Riel Casimero looks towards Paul Butler and Joseph Agbeko.
From left to bottom right: John Riel Casimero, Paul Butler and Joseph Agbeko

John Riel Casimero Withdraws From Mandatory Defense Due to Illness

John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21 KOs) will no longer defend the WBO bantamweight title against mandatory challenger Paul Butler (33-2, 15 KOs) on December 11 in Dubai. Butler will now face two-time IBF 118 pound champ Joseph Agbeko for the WBO “interim” title.


There were concerns throughout the week. According to the WBO, Casimero was admitted to American Hospital Dubai due to a medical issue.

WBO document about John Riel Casimero.
WBO statement on John Riel Casimero

Speaking to iFL TV after hearing the news, Butler disclosed he noticed that the 32-year-old looked to be suffering and was physically off.

“To be fair, watching him in and around the hotel. He didn’t look great trying to make weight. Every time I’d walk past the treadmill to go outside to just chill at the pool, he was on them. He was outside Wednesday [December 8] in the sun, just shadowboxing with his sweat-suits on; a belt around him. 

“So you could see was struggling, but he’s had eight, nine weeks to get to this point. I’m not going to sit here and say ‘oh he’s unprofessional’ for failing to make weight, but he’s had eight weeks.

“I heard he landed and had seven pounds to lose. So, that seven pounds to lose must have hit him really, really dry, to be on the running machines twice a day we were seeing him. So, god knows what else he was doing.”

RELATED: John Riel Casimero: “Fuck Naoya Inoue! He’s Scared Of Me Like Nonito Donaire!”

Butler went on to say that if the bout against Agbeko is not for a world title, he’s not fighting. It’s worth noting that at 44-year-old, Agbeko is currently ranked tenth by the WBO at bantamweight.

At this time, the status of Casimero is unclear. The WBO has yet to declare if they will strip him of the title. Stay tuned to 3KingsBoxing for further updates. 

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for