JOHNRIEL Casimero lost his WBO bantamweight title outside of the ring.
The 31-year-old Filipino was stripped of his title after being forced to back out of his mandatory defense against England's Paul Butler on Saturday by viral gastritis.
Casimero's own cutman Stephen Lunas hinted about the condition of the Filpino fighter in a post on Facebook, saying, ‘viral gastritis sucks.’
'Get well soon, champ'
“But first and foremost, the health of an athlete is more important than the sport itself,” he added. “Get well soon, champ.”
The last-minute development came amid rumors Casimero is still above the 118-lbs limit and couldn’t make the weight in time for Friday’s official weigh-in.
Probellum, which is promoting the fight card in Dubai for its first major event, later came out with an official statement saying the brash-talking Filipino had to pull out of the fight with Paul Butler after being unable to make it to the weigh in.
"We wish him a speedy recovery," said the promotional outfit.
In place of Casimero is Joseph Agbeko of Ghana, who made the bantamweight limit together with Butler.
The fight card will still proceed with Filipinos Donnie Nietes seeing action in the undercard, and Jayson Mama fighting IBF super-flyweight champion Sunny Edwards in the supposed co-main event.
Both Nietes, who faces Norbelto Jimenez of Dominican Republic, and Mama made weight in their respective divisions.