By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Seniuor Reporter
WORLD BOXING ORGANIZATION (WBO) bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero of the Philippines is set to defend his title this weekend against Duke Micah of Ghana in a fight that the Filipino should like his chances in, according to a local fight analyst.
The Casimero-Micah clash is set for Sunday (Manila time) and happening at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut in the United States.
Ormoc, Leyte native Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) was supposed to meet undefeated Japanese Naoya Inoue before the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the marquee showdown, leaving Mr. Casimero’s camp to deal with Mr. Micah (24-0, 19 KOs) instead.
For local fight analyst Nissi Icasiano, while Mr. Micah presents a challenge, he is not Mr. Inoue and may have a tough time against a fighter with the experience of Mr. Casimero.
“To me, Mr. Micah doesn’t appear to be a threat like Inoue. Though he got heavy hands, which is something that Mr. Casimero cannot take for granted, Mr. Micah lacks lateral movement, making him an easy target for Mr. Casimero. He moves in one direction and doesn’t have a footwork to offset the pesky and awkward style of the Filipino. It’s interesting as to how Mr. Micah will react if he starts to box backwards, which is something that I haven’t seen from him since 2017 when he started fighting in the United States,” said Mr. Icasiano in an interview with BusinessWorld.
“I am not convinced that Mr. Micah is ready to face a champion like Mr. Casimero who has won titles in three different weight classes. He has yet to possess that much-needed wealth of experience and even the wares to strut on the championship stage. It’s possible that Mr. Casimero can wrap it up within five to six rounds,” he added.
Mr. Casimero, who is signed with Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, has been in the United States since March preparing for his title defense initially against Mr. Inoue.
Despite the long wait though, Mr. Icasiano said he does not see it as a problem because of the kind of work ethic Mr. Casimero and his camp has.
“I don’t think the long wait will affect Mr. Casimero. He is in great shape since March. He never missed a beat in training camp. Plus, the Filipino has Angel “Memo” Heredia to monitor the peak of his performance as well as his weight,” the analyst said.
But while Mr. Casimero has a lot going for him in his upcoming fight, Mr. Icasiano cautioned against the Filipino letting his guard down, more so since the outcome of the fight against Mr. Micah could dictate things for him moving forward.
“Though Mr. Micah has nothing to lose on paper, Mr. Casimero is in a must-win situation if he wants to secure a date with Inoue, Luis Nery (Mexico), or Guillermo Rigondeaux (Cuba) early next year,” the analyst said.
Mr. Casimero enters this weekend’s title bout riding a five-fight winning streak, the last one coming in November last year over South African Zolani Tete where he won the WBO bantamweight title by technical knockout in the third round.
Ghanaian Micah, meanwhile, last fought in July 2019, beating Puerto Rican Janiel Rivers by unanimous decision.