JOHNRIEL Casimero retained his International Boxing Federation (IBF) light-flyweight title with an explosive 11th round technical knockout of tough Mexican Felipe Salguero Saturday night at the Makati Coliseum.
The 23-year-old pride of Ormoc City pummeled the challenger with a barrage of punches, including a left hook, right straight combo that downed Salguero on both knees, prompting referee Wayne Hedgepeth to waive off the fight.
Casimero raised both arms in triumph when it was over and bask in the glory of his first title defense – and third overall – here in the country witnessed by a sizeable crowd that included Top Rank Promotions chairman Bob Arum.
The end came at the 1:34 mark of the 11th round.
“Timing lang. Magaling siya at may lakas kaya ganun din ang respeto ko sa kanya,” said the champion, who raised his record to 19-2 (win-loss) overall, including 11 by KOs.
Before the fateful end came, Casimero already knocked down Salguero in the eighth round courtesy of a solid left, followed by another one in the ninth when the Filipino hammered home a heavy right that almost had the Mexican falling over the ropes.
But the native of Tolucca, Mexico bravely held on and lasted for another round until Hedgepeth finally stepped in and stopped the fight in the 11th after the Mexican already had enough.
“Hindi ko talaga expect na ma-knockout ko siya. Alam ko kasi talagang matibay e,” said Casimero. “Dumating na lang talaga `yung pagkakataon.”
Salguero fell to 18-5 with 13 KOs as he suffered his second title loss against a Filipino. The Mexican was also unsuccessful in his bid to wrest the World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight crown against Donnie `Ahas’ Nietes last year, losing by a 12-round unanimous decision.