CEBU City – John Riel Casimero admitted he has learned his lesson after failing to make weight that led to him being stripped of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior flyweight title.
A remorseful Casimero faced media men on Saturday a few hours before he faces Colombian challenger Mauricio Fuentes at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino for what was supposed to be his fourth and last mandatory defense of the 108 lb. crown.
Unfortunately, the 24-year-old Filipino came five pounds over the light-flyweight limit during Friday’s official weigh-in, rendering him a title-less king when he climbs up the ring against his undersized opponent who is ranked No. 11 by the IBF.
A native of Ormoc City, Casimero said he tried his best to make the weight limit. Unfortunately, the mind was willing but the flesh was weak.
“Malaking pagsisisi natin, dahil pinaghirapan nating mapanalunan ang belt na ito, tapos natalo lang tayo sa weight,” he said during the pocket interview held at Laguna Café, where he was joined by his promoter Sammy Gello-Ani, Fuentes and manager Albenio Martinez, along with Sports5 head Chot Reyes.
“Babawi na lang kami next time.”
Casimero said his corner monitored his weight weeks leading to the fight, adding, “pinag-tiyagaan natin na makuha pero hindi na talaga kaya ng katawan, although sa isip ko, kaya pa talaga.”
Gello-Ani admitted the boxing champion already had weight issues in his past fights including the last one against Mexican Felipe Salguero.
“But at the last minute, he always made the weight,” said Gello-Ani. “I know Casimero was overconfident because he’s fighting right here in his place.”
As things stand now, both Gello-Ani and Casimero said the best thing to do is to invade the flyweight division after his fight with the 24-year-old Fuentes, who stands to win the IBF title belt outright if he beats the former champion.
“Malaki na ako ngayon kaya tingin ko sure ako sa flyweight na (112 lbs),” said Casimero, who is bound to get a 10 percent deduction from his fight purse as a result of his failure to make weight.
Despite the weight issue, Reyes, also the Gilas Pilipinas coach, said Sports5 remains committed in its goal of giving exposure to Filipino athletes.
“We stand firmly behind the Filipino athletes. This is part of a boxer’s life. Mag-silbing aral sana ito kay John Riel and other Filipino boxers,” said Reyes.