Boring night in Carson City


CARSON CITY, California—Johnriel Casimero retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight title on Sunday, beating a veteran Guillermo Rigondeaux who did nothing but run around the ring all night long.

Surprisingly, the pride of Ormoc City, Casimero, earned a split decision victory in the 12-round boring of a duel that was nowhere the electrifying confrontation promised by the Cuban during the pre-fight press conference where both protagonists had a hay day trash talking each other.

Daniel Sandoval and Robert Hoyle gave the 32-year-old Casimero the fight, 116-112 and 117-111, respectively, but not Tim Cheatham, who saw it 115-113 for the 40-year-old two-time Olympic champion. All three judges are Americans.

“I was a little surprised. All I can say is I don’t know what Tim Cheatham was looking at, but he needs to go back to figure out how to score a fight because he is horrible tonight,” MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said at ringside of the Dignity Health Sports Park. “You don’t win fights on your back foot running for your life…I think he’s [Rigondeaux] running to the hotel now.”

Casimero relentlessly stalked Rigondeaux but couldn’t create any heated exchange as the Cuban preferred to stay beyond striking distance of the champion’s fists after getting hurt in the opening round.

“My expectations were for a knockout. Me and all my fans wanted that,” said Casimero, who won his eighth straight fight. “I did my best to knock him out, but he was just running and running and not fighting.”

“I know Rigondeaux is an intelligent fighter, but I never expected that,” added Casimero, who improved to 31-4 won-lost (21 knockouts). “He was running all the time.”

Rigondeaux appeared hurt after getting hit on the head in the first round. Casimero did all the chasing eager to unleash killer blows after that.

“He told me during the press conference that he’s going to fight toe-to-toe, but it didn’t happen,” the Filipino said. “I asked him ‘why are you running all night?’ He really wanted to discourage me, but it didn’t happen.”

Rigondeaux (20-2 win-loss record with 13 knockouts) didn’t unleash even a single solid punch and engaged three-division world champion Casimero to a hugging and running match especially in the latter rounds.

Casimero even showed how bored he was of the fight in the seven round when he stood in the middle of the ring, kept his guard down without throwing while his opponent kept dancing around.

The Filipino champion landed 47 punches to Rigondeaux’s 44, numbers so low they’re not typical of a world title fight.

Jonas Sultan, meanwhile, impressed in the undercard with a seventh-round technical knockout triumph over American Sharone Carter in their non-title eight-round bantamweight clash.

Sultan (17-5 record with 11 knockouts) finished off Carter with a straight right to finally get a victory after a two-year layoff.

He knocked down fellow Filipino, Salatiel Amit, in Ormoc City also in the seventh round in his last outing two years ago.

Image courtesy of JHAY OH OTAMIAS

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