Chocolatito Gonzales on the radar as Johnriel Casimero handlers make big plans
IBF flyweight champ Johnriel Casimero with trainer Jun Agrabyo and promoter Sammy Gello-ani. Gerry Ramos

BIG, bold plans are being laid down for Johnriel Casimero following his successful defense of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight title on Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila time) at the 02 Arena in London.

Promoter Sammy Gelo-ani bared the team of the 26-year-old champion is lining up a voluntary defense before the year ends and hopefully a mandatory fight by February.

After that, they are eyeing a possible unification bout in the 112 lbs. division before going for the ultimate target – a showdown with boxing’s current pound-for-pound king Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.

“That’s the plan right now,” said Gello-ani during the welcome press conference for Casimero on Tuesday at the Victory Mall gym, less than 24 hours since arriving in the country after his 10th round technical knockout of Charlie Edwards in the undercard of the Genady Golovkin-Kell Brooks middleweight title fight.

“Hopefully, he’ll be a champion for a long time. Then after defending his title, we’ll move up and make history, like (Donnie) Nietes, and beat all the warriors there. Then fight Roman Gonzalez, that would be a very good fight.”

The 29-year-old Gonzales is the current World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight king who added the WBC super-flyweight belt to his collection on Saturday when he scored a 12-round unanimous decision against Carlos Cuadras.

For Casimero though, the Nicaraguan great has long been in his sights, in the belief that can be beaten despite his awesome record of 48-0, including 36 KOs.

“Tingin ko kaya ko yun,” said the 26-year-old Filipino, who was joined in the presidential table by trainer Jun Agrabyo, dietician and cut man Aldrin Sta. Maria, and Roque Sendin, vice president and general manager for operations of Victory Malls.

“Paghihirapan ko yun sa training, lahat naman kailangan paghirapan,” he added. “Darating din tayo diyan. Kami rin naman ang magkikita.”

Gello-ani admitted the reigning champion from Ormoc has long been after the neck of the power-punching Gonzalez, but cautions him from making sudden, swift decisions.

He wants a well-planned, calculated move for Casimero before facing the Nicaraguan warrior.

“Matagal na niyang hinihingi yan, kami lang ang nagsasabi na huwag muna,” said the former point-man of ALA boxing stable. “Magkikita rin naman sila.”

“He is the pound-for-pound fighter in the world, talagang mahusay siya. And in the sport of boxing, if you’re aspiring to get him that would be the biggest fight of your career. Meeting Chocolatito and beating him means you’re the best of the best.”


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