John Riel Casimero crushes Zolani Tete in three, calls out Naoya Inoue

Anthony Cocks

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Former two-division world champion John Riel Casimero 29-4 (20) claimed the WBO bantamweight championship with a stunning third-round knockout of Zolani Tete 28-4 (21) at Arena Birmingham in Birmingham, England on Saturday night.

South African southpaw Tete, 31, easily outboxed Casimero for the opening two rounds, but the hard-punching 30-year-old Filipino found a home for his right hand in the third, landing a pair of crushing rights to Tete’s temple that crumpled him to the canvas.

Although he beat the count, Tete never fully recovered.

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Casimero unloaded on Tete on the ropes, sending him to the canvas for the second time despite most of his punches being absorbed by the champion’s gloves.

Referee Steve Gray stepped in to crown Casimero the winner at the 2:14 mark.

Immediately after the fight Casimero called out WBA and IBF bantamweight champion Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue 19-0 (16).

“Come on, Inoue!” Casimero said in his post-fight interview. “Zolani Tete is a good fighter, but next fight, Inoue. Come on, Monster!”

Inoue acknowledged Casimero’s victory on Twitter, saying “I thought it would go longer…Thing are now going to get interesting…”

Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions insists a fight with Inoue is about more than a pay cheque for Casimero.

“I’m not talking because we want a payday, I’m talking because this is a bad mofo,” said Gibbons.

“[Casimero] can punch, he can box, he’s got a chin. Bring Inoue and I’ll bet my house that this guy knocks Inoue out.

“Inoue’s this badass that Bob Arum talks about, ‘he’s the Monster, he’s the best at 118,’… but Casimero looked like more of a monster than anyone in that World Series of Boxing.”


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