INSTEAD of a lucrative world title unification bout with Japanese super star Naoya Inoue, Johnriel Casimero settles for a voluntary title defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight belt against unbeaten Duke Micah on Sept. 27 (PH time) at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
The 31-year-old Casimero was supposed to face Inoue last April 25, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced its postponement. Inoue, who's training in Japan, somehow decided not to fight Casimero and is now negotiating to face WBO No. 1 rated Jason Moloney.
Casimero never stopped training since preparing for Inoue. He's currently training in Las Vegas at the Bones Adams Gym of former world champion Clarence "Bones" Adams.
Since losing to Jonas Sultan in an International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight title eliminator in 2017, Casimero moved up north to the bantamweight division and found his recent success there.
After two tune-up fights, Casimero snagged the interim WBO bantamweight belt with a 12th round knockout win over Richard Franco.
He followed it up with a 10th round knockout of Cesar Ramirez before becoming the regular champion with a third round stoppage of Zolani Tete.
The 28-year-old Micah is no pushover though. He has impressive credentials—a former Olympian and unbeaten in 24 fights in the pro ranks.
Micah, a native of Ghana but now based in the United States, fought twice in 2019. He stopped Luis Cruz in two rounds and then beat former world title challenger Janiel Rivera by unanimous decision.
Casimero, currently one of the best Filipino fighters, is 29-4 with 20 knockouts, while Micah is 24-0 with 19 knockouts. (EKA)