MANILA, Philippines – After spending his entire career traversing the globe looking for meaningful fights, IBF junior flyweight titleholder Johnriel Casimero will get to make his second straight title defense in his native Philippines.
Casimero (19-2, 11 KOs), of Ormoc City, Philippines, will make the fourth defense of his world title on March 29 against Mauricio Fuentes (16-2, 10 KOs), of Colombia. Casimero's US-based handler Nathan Lewkowicz confirmed that the mandatory title defense will take place in the Philippines.
Casimero, 23, last defended his title in October against Felipe Salguero at Makati Coliseum in the Philippines, winning by 11th round technical knockout. Casimero first won the interim title in 2012 when he stopped Luis Lazarte in Argentina, touching off a riot that led to Casimero seeking refuge beneath the ring. He was later elevated to full champion status when Ulises Solis was unable to meet his mandatory obligation.
Casimero, who has competed in six different countries as a professional, has been engaging in light training at the Omega Boxing Gym in Cebu City, says his trainer Christopher Tepora. Tepora says that Casimero will begin serious training next week.
Fuentes, 24, has been unbeaten since losing decisions to future title challengers Luis De La Rosa and Jorle Estrada in his first five fights, but has faced unknown competitions since then. None of his opponents since the Estrada fight in 2009 have had winning records or wins in their most recent bout.
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com. An archive of his work can be found at ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.