Filipino junior flyweight Johnriel Casimero suffered concussions, and his team member, Sean Gibbons, received two broken ribs as the result of a riot that broke out after Casimero’s 10th-round TKO of hometown favorite Luis Lazarte for the IBF belt in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last Friday.
“Casimero has several concussions, and it’s not from the fight. It’s from the savage attack that he received after the fight,” said Sampson Lekowicz, the American-based co-promoter of Casimero (16-2, 10 knockouts). “I sent my good dear friend, Sean Gibbons, there for the fight, but I feel so guilty that he has two broken ribs because he was attacked.”
Lazarte (49-11-2, 18 KOs) was in desperation mode, trying to fend off the attacks of Casimero, when the referee stepped in to stop the bout, and shortly afterward fans began throwing bottles and chairs into the ring.
Casimero can be seen in this video, gloves still on, hiding from attackers amid other members of Team Casimero – including Gibbons, a tall gentleman — and later being chased around the ring.
Crowd members climbed onto the ring apron and tossed more chairs at Casimero and the terrified fighter’s cornermen.
A man can be observed chasing and throwing punches at camp members and Casimero, who was hit with a chair as well as kicked, according to Gibbons in one report.
Referee Eddie Claudio spirited Casimero away and actually hid him beneath the ring. Gibbons was hit by a chair and stomped by fans before he rolled out of the ring and was escorted to safety by security guards.
“Members of our team got hurt, and many of the officials did as well,” said Lewkowicz. “The referee went to the hospital.”
On Sunday, Gibbons, a matchmaker with Zanfer Promotions, was resting at his Las Vegas home. Gibbons confirmed that two of his ribs were broken.
“I was sucker-punched by one of Lazarte’s team. I was covering Johnriel from things being thrown and this coward came from my blind side and hit me as hard as he could in the rib cage, breaking two ribs…But my concern was to cover the fighter first. The doc gave me some pain meds, but I’m fine. It’s not that bad,” said Gibbons, a former light heavyweight fighter.
“I was able to get out of the ring before there was any serious damage. Just a little sore in the back of the head. I’m not very happy. I don’t mind getting my a– kicked fair and square. But by a cheap shot? Really? But it’s not the first time that I’ve been hit. The real story is those wackos attacking Johnriel Casimero and his two corner guys…But it’s Johnriel’s birthday tomorrow [Feb. 13,] so the belt was a gift to all of us.”
Gibbons pointed out that in the video, Lazarte can bee seen biting Casimero on the right shoulder at least once, including an occasion in slow motion in the sixth round. A ringside commentator compares Lazarte’s infraction to that by Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield’s ear.
“If you watch the tape, at the end of the sixth round and the seventh round, Lizarte is clearly seen biting Casimero both rounds. Disgusting. In my 25 years in boxing, I have never seen an animal as nasty as Lazarte,” said Gibbons.
“He should be banned…He bit…Casimero two times. As for me pressing charges, I think that would be difficult. I did not get a name. But he is clearly seen in the ring right next to me before I hit the deck. Also, Karma has a way of handling these things.”
Lewkowicz said he plans to file a formal complaint with the IBF.
“It will be a letter to the IBF who, even though they’re not resposible for these actions and they have nothing to do with it, it’s not acceptable for our sport,” said Lewkowicz.
“Even though the IBF really has nothing to do with the acts of this group of people who did these violent acts, I can guarantee you that the IBF will not allow this to happen again in Argentina or any place.”
IBF publicist Jeanette Salazar called the post-fight actions “terrible,” but could not speculate on what — if any — action could be taken by her organization.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org