Two weight world champion Zolani Tete defends his WBO bantamweight title for the fourth time against the rugged Filipino John Riel Casimero who has held world titles in the light-flyweight, flyweight and bantamweight divisions. The fight takes place at Arena Birmingham and will be televised by BT Sports in the Uk and by ESPN in the USA.
The 30-year-old Casimero (28-4-0, 19 Ko’s) from Ormoc City, in the Philippines is the current WBO Interim bantamweight world titleholder and poses a real threat to the full champion Tete (28-3-0, 21 Ko’s). Their records are almost identical and both have been campaigning at world-class level for around 10 years, Casimero first challenging for the Interim WBO world light-flyweight world title against Cesar Canchila in Managua, Nicaragua in December 2009, and Tete first challenging for the IBF world flyweight world title against Moruti Mthalane in September 2010.
Five of Tete’s last six bouts have taken place in the United Kingdom so he will feel more like the home fighter than Casimero who has only visited the UK on one occasion when defending his IBF world flyweight title against Charlie Edwards in September 2016 at the O2 Arena in London. Casimero was successful that night stopping the young and inexperienced Edwards in the 10th round.
Casimero is the epitome of the term ‘Road warrior’ having boxed in Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Panama, Thailand, China, America, and the UK in a 12-year professional career that includes 13 world title fights, so fighting overseas is not going to be a problem.
This is a fight that should go the full 12 rounds, Casimero has one defeat by stoppage and that was when he challenged for the IBF flyweight title to Moruti Mthalane in 2011 but otherwise, he has shown an iron chin.
Since moving up to bantamweight, Tete has 3 stoppage wins and 3 decision victories so it’s possible that his power is not as potent at the higher weight but still it’s unlikely that he can stop Casimero.
There is a real chance of the title changing hands here which would be a disaster for Tete because he is chasing a career-defining fight against world bantamweight No1 Naoya Inoue and that is why we will probably see the best of Tete in this fight.
Prediction: Tete to win on points in a close fight.