John Riel Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) defends his WBO bantamweight title against 40-year-old Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs) tonight on Showtime Boxing, starting at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The Philippines’ Casimero is a former titlist at flyweight and light flyweight and earned the WBO bantamweight title with a great 3rd round KO win over Zolani Tete in 2019 and defended it by stopping previously undefeated Duke Micah last year.
Cuba’s Rigondeaux is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the most decorated amateurs of all-time. As a professional he was the top super bantamweight for years, then moved up to super featherweight to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko and came up short, quitting on his stool with a hand injury in a bout he was well on his way to losing. He moved all the way back down to bantamweight and beat Liborio Solis for one of the WBA’s numerous belts.
Casimero is an aggressive fighter who likes to trade at mid-range and a committed body puncher. He’s also a terrific puncher riding a six-fight stoppage streak. Rigondeaux is one of the best defensive fighters and counter fighters of this generation but after being decried for being less than entertaining at times, he’s been more willing to put his hands up and trade recently. If he tries that against Casimero, he could pay for it but otherwise, he should be able to outbox and counter Casimero for a decision or late stoppage win.
In the co-main event Gary Antonio Russell (18-0, 12 KOs) fights former IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KOs). Russell has faced very poor competition overall. His first real step up came in his last fight against Juan Carlos Payano and though he won, he didn’t look very impressive doing it. Rodriguez lost his title to Naoya Inoue in the World Boxing Super Series tournament (no shame in that) and was robbed against Reymart Gaballo last December.
Gary Antonio Russell is a decent fighter but I would be way higher on him if he was 23 and not 28. He’s more than likely who he’s going to be at this point and that didn’t look like an elite fighter against Payano. Rodriguez is more proven at the highest level, a very elegant outfighter with an excellent jab and counter right hand and following two losses, his back is against the wall. I envision the Puerto Rican moving well around the ring, catching Russell on the way in regularly with his straight right and winning a comfortable decision.
A number of other bantamweights are in action on the undercard, former WBA champion Rau’shee Warren (18-3, 4 KOs) faces former challenger Damien Vasquez (15-2-1, 8 KOs). Juan Carlos Payano (22-5, 10 KOs) is taking an 8-round rebound fight, as well as the last man to beat Casimero, Jonas Sultan (16-5, 10 KOs). Someone having a good performance could position themselves for a shot at the main and co-main event fighters.
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