NEWLY-crowned International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero wants to take on the best in the division.
After knocking out Anmat Ruenroeng on Wednesday night in Beijing, China to wrest the world title, he quickly issued a challenge to the man considered the top fighter, pound-for-pound, in the world today.
The Filipino said he’s eyeing to unify the 112-lbs. division by going after reigning and undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Roman Gonzales.
Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing, which handles the Filipino champ, disclosed plans to fight ‘Chocolatito’ next following Casimero’s devastating fourth-round demolition of the previously unbeaten Ruenroeng at the Diamond Court in Beijing.
“We want to unify against ‘Chocolatito.’ Tell him we are ready any time,” said Lewkowicz, whose stable also includes current World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight champion Javier Fortuna.
Gonzales, 28, packs an impressive record of 45-0, with 38 KOs. His wins include a ninth round TKO of Filipino Brian Viloria at the Madison Square Garden in New York last October.
But Lewkowicz said Casimero (22-3, 14 KOs) doesn’t fear anybody, even a fighter of Gonzales’ stature.
“They say no one wants to fight Gonzalez. We do,” he said of the hand-punching Nicaraguan. “John Riel is right here and ready to unify the championships. My phone is always on. Let's make it happen.”
Casimero, a former IBF light-flyweight champion, showed he’s a force to be reckoned with at the 112-lbs. division with the way he destroyed Ruenroeng in their rematch.
The 26-year-old native of Ormoc, Leyte knocked down the Thai twice in the fourth round. A left hook to the body finished off Ruenroeng, who suffered the first defeat of his pro career (17-1, 5 KOs).
Casimero lost to Ruenroeng by unanimous decision in their first title fight last year in Bangkok.
"John Riel has gotten this out of the way now," said Lewkowicz, who felt Casimero was distracted by the roughhousing tactics Ruenroeng did during their July 2015 match.
A bronze medalist in the 2007 World Championship in Chicago, Ruenroeng was also responsible for dealing Chinese superstar and Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming his first loss as a pro following a unanimous decision win in their IBF title bout at The Venetian in Macau in March of last year.
Casimero became the third Filipino world champion at the moment after Nonito Donaire Jr. (World Boxing Organization super-bantamweight) and Donnie Nietes (WBO light-lfyweight)