By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
FILIPINO world champion John Riel “Quadro Alas” Casimero retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight title with a split-decision victory in a fight that saw his opponent not willing to engage.
Mr. Casimero, 31, defeated Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in their scheduled 12-round title fight at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, on Sunday (Manila time).
Two judges scored the fight for the Ormoc City native, 116-112 and 117-111, and one went for 40-year-old Mr. Rigondeaux, 115-113.
The outcome, however, left many wanting for more since the fight featured very little action as hoped, with Mr. Rigondeaux deciding to circle around the ring for most of the time.
Mr. Casimero tried to bring the fight to his opponent but with not much success as he kept chasing Mr. Rigondeaux.
The fight statistics showed how little action the headlining fight had, with both fighters not even landing 50 punches throughout the contest.
Mr. Rigondeaux connected on 44 punches out of 221 throws (19.9%) while Mr. Casimero had 47-of-297 (15.8%).
The Philippine bet, while happy to have retained his title, expressed frustration over the boxing they showed, pinning the blame on Mr. Rigondeaux.
“I was excited to face him because he is a good fighter. I was looking to engage and go for a knockout win but Rigondeaux just kept on running,” said the WBO champion after the fight.
The win, the second successful title defense of Mr. Casimero, took his record to 31 wins as opposed to four losses while Mr. Rigondeaux dropped to 20-2.
Next for Mr. Casimero is a possible showdown with World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation champion Naoya Inoue of Japan or against fellow Filipino Nonito Donaire, Jr., who incidentally was his supposed opponent for Sunday’s fight until the two had a falling out on certain issues.
Meanwhile, also victorious in the undercard was Filipino Jonas Sultan, who knocked out Sharone Carter of the United States in the seventh round of their bantamweight collision.
Cebu-based fighter Mr. Sultan unleashed a barrage of punches and then a solid right to finish off Mr. Carter at the 2:29 mark of the seventh.
With the win, Mr. Sultan improved to 17-5 and has now won back-to-back fights.