CHAMPION Johnriel Casimero easily made weight and is now psyching himself up for his International Boxing Federdation light-flyweight title defense against Luis Alberto Rios of Panama on Sunday (Manila time).
Casimero came in just a shade below the 108-lbs. limit during the official weigh-in on Saturday. The Panamanian challenger weighed in at exactly 108 lbs.
Sammy Gello-ani, manager of Casimero, told Spin.ph that making weight is the least of the Filipino corner’s concern since the champion has always been a diligent and disciplined fighter.
“Maalaga sa katawan si Johnriel, kaya hindi kami nahirapan sa pagkuha ng timbang,” said the Cebuano promoter, who bared the champion is now into carbo-loading 24 hours before the title fight at the Megapolis Convention Center in Panama City.
Casimero (17-2, with 10 KOs) vows to go for a decisive win against his wily and fleet-footed opponent.
“Alam namin na mahilig umatras si Rios. Pero hindi na bago sa amin yun. May fight plan na kami. We’re ready for whatever the opponent gives us,” added Gello-ani.
A pair of Filipino boxing analysts, however, expressed concern for Casimero as Rios is "no tomato can."
“Basta tumama si Casimero pwede niyang pabagsakin. Malakas suntok nun eh. Kaya lang, takbuhin yung kalaban,” said DZSR Sports Radio boxing commentator Renato Lirio.
The longtime ring analyst also look at the higher knockout percentage of Rios, who has a 65 percent knockout average with his 18-1-1 record, including 13 KOs.
Casimero’s knockout percentage is not bad either at 52 percent.
“Pero sana manalo siya (Casimero). Kaya lang let’s be realistic, magaling ang kalaban tapos gutom ang Panama sa world title. Wala silang champion ngayon eh,” added Lirio, obviously concerned with the odds facing the pride of Ormoc City, Leyte in a hostile territory.
Spin.ph boxing columnist Atty. Ed Tolentino, meanwhile, is a bit wary about the conditioning of Casimero as had been the case in his previous fights.
“May apprehension pa rin sa stamina at conditioning ni Johnriel. Sa latter part ng laban madalas kinakapos eh. But I still believe he is capable of retaining the title, pero everything hangs in the balance,” said Tolentino.
“Casimero has power, no doubt about it. He can punch. He really should go for a knockout lalo pa’t prone siya sa hometown decision,” added Tolentino.